Dameko Doddles never heard the knocking on his door early on the morning of April 5.
The Douglass senior, who is No. 24 on The Oklahoman’s Super 30 recruiting rankings, slept right through his coach’s pounding. Because of it, he missed an incredible recruiting opportunity at the Nike football combine he was planning to attend in Dallas that day, possibly costing him a chance to show his talent and improve his status as a Division I prospect.
But as it turned out, his sound sleeping afforded him something that will mean more than anything he ever does on a football field.
He got to be with his dying mother during the final hours of her life.
“If I was in Texas, I don’t know how I would’ve handled it,” Doddles said. “There wouldn’t have been anything I could do. I just thank God he let me get to see her, because I got to tell her the things I wanted to tell her.”
When Doddles woke up late that morning, he was angry he missed the combine. But soon, he got a call from Douglass football coach Willis Alexander, who was on his way to get him and take him to the hospital.
Doddles’ mother, Meshelle, was diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2011, and the battle had been long and hard. She had been in the hospital for about a week on April 5, when doctors informed her there was nothing more they could do.
“I’ve never been away from my mom. I watched it happen the whole time,” Doddles said. “There was nothing I could do about it. Just pray. For a long time, I didn’t want to believe it. I kept thinking she was gonna get better.
“When I got to the hospital, they told me this was her last hours. This was it.”
The youngest of his siblings, Doddles was the only one still living at home at the time. He now lives with his 22-year-old sister. He credits his Douglass football family for helping him through the aftermath.
Experiencing his mother’s cancer fight and death changed Doddles as a person, and as a football player — though it took some motherly intuition to finally flip that switch last fall.
Doddles had been in trouble at home and at school for some minor misbehavior. Nothing serious, but his mother wanted it stopped. So she went right for what her son loved most, placing a call to Alexander.