Photo courtesy of UNCP Athletics
The UNCP football team has had a new signal caller at the helm on offense this season in redshirt freshman quarterback Dominick ‘Dom’ Samson. After not seeing any game action as a true freshman last season, the former Panther Creek standout and Cary native has taken the reigns as the leader on offense following the transfer of his predecessor, Patrick O’Brien, to regional foe Catawba.
Even though he didn’t become a starter until his senior season at Panther Creek, Samson has been playing tackle football since the age of eight and played flag football before that. Although he was a multi-sport athlete growing like many of his teammates, football was always his first love.
“Growing up, football and baseball were always competing with each other, but as I started to get taller it became harder to play catcher so I wanted to play football,” Samson said.
Dom also played basketball growing up and throughout high school but never considered prioritizing it before football.
Even though his favorite NFL team is the New York Jets, his favorite quarterback of all time is Colts legend Peyton Manning. When asked which professional quarterback Samson models his game after, he went with a rising star: “Since Peyton Manning is retired, I am trying to get more like Deshaun Watson.”
Samson did not receive many scholarship offers in high school, but UNCP was his first choice of the schools that were recruiting him. Samson also garnered interest from Elon and Bridgewater State University as well as the prestigious Ivy league institution Yale.
“[Pembroke] was close enough to home but still far enough to go away for school and they had a great football team and football program that I wanted to be a part of,” Samson said.
Samson enjoys playing the quarterback position because he constantly wants to be in control of the action. Even when he played baseball, he wanted to touch the ball every play, which is why he chose to be catcher.
Samson recalled when he first started playing quarterback in Pop Warner Youth Football. His coach lined up all of his players to see who could throw the farthest. The further their coach required them to move back, the further he threw. Ultimately, Samson was the last man standing and ultimately earned the right to start at quarterback.
Samson believes that being a student athlete at the college level is much more taxing than it was in high school and middle school.
“It’s a lot different, just time management there’s a lot more going on,” Samson said. “In high school you just go to school, go to practice and go home. Here you go to class, you got to go to treatment, you have obviously stuff on the weekends, staying overnight for games, watch more film because defenses are more complicated, so it’s just a lot more involved.”
Samson does not have a pregame ritual that he engages in. He does, however, have a pregame playlist that helps get him ready to compete. Popular artists such as Kodak Black, Chief Keef, Waka Flocka Flame, Young Nudy and Drake predominantly make up the list.
The oldest son of Don and Cindy Samson, Dominick has two younger brothers: Joe, a 16-year-old junior at Panther Creek, and Nick, a 13-year-old athlete in junior high school. Both are multi-sport athletes aspiring to follow in their big brother’s footsteps and play at the collegiate level.