Meet Desmond Scott, The Former Duke University Running Back Who Skipped The NFL To Pursue His Dream As A Fitness Entrepreneur
Many D-1 athletes dream of elevating their game to the next level. After a couple years playing their sport in college, few things seem more aspirational than living the dream as a big time pro athlete. But — like caviar and licorice — it’s not for everyone.
Despite being more than qualified for the NFL Draft, former Duke running back Desmond Scott decided that the glitz and glamour of the NFL wasn’t for him. To many, this sounds astonishing — He was the first person at Duke (and still only the third person in the ACC) to ever tally up 1,000+ yards in rushing, receiving, and kickoff returns. Instead of the NFL, he wanted to focus on a quiet family life and training future athletes with his Durham, North Carolina-based fitness businesses: My Dose Of Healthy Fitness and Prime Athletic Training & Fitness Institute. Business is booming — This past July he cut the ribbon on a brand new, state-of-the-art 11,000-square-foot, fully-equipped facility, staffed with a team of professional trainers. They’re a full-service fitness center, offering everything from classes to meal plans.
We caught up with Desmond to talk about his days at Duke, the steps he took to achieve fitness entrepeuner success, and why the NFL just wasn’t for him.
In your own words, can you give us a little bit of a run down of your NCAA career at Duke? How would you describe it?
As a senior in high-school I was the #1 running back in the state of North Carolina and 23rd in the nation. Being one of two Four Star athletes on the Duke roster my freshman year was a pretty dope experience, one that I had to get used to. Going into my freshman year, I surely believed I would play and have a very important role to help with the success of the team. However the coaching staff had different thoughts for me — I was redshirted the first three games of the 2009 football season. The fourth game of the season, I became the starting running back for the next three years. With my senior year approaching and a very slim wide-receiving crew, I made the choice to switch from running back to wide receiver to complete my four years at Duke.
That choice allowed me to write my name in the Duke and ACC history books as the first person in Duke history to amass 1,000+ yards in rushing, receiving, and kickoff return. I’m still only the third person in ACC history to do that.
You mentioned that you didn’t want to go pro to pursue a career in the NFL. Can you talk a little bit about why?
God placed it on my heart early in life to be in the business of servicing and helping others. I thought this service was going to be teaching in the sense of “in a classroom”. What I didn’t know was that my classroom was going to be a fitness facility that I created and built. I also knew that I wanted to be able to enjoy my future wife and kids.
As a D-1 athlete, there’s constant pressure to stay in peak physical shape for the season. When you leave school, not so much. How did you navigate that transition, going from a regimented training program to having to do it yourself?
I wish I took my training in college as serious as I take it now. Just like every D1 athlete that leaves school says, “I’m never going to squat again” so did I. However the profession that I am in requires me to look a certain way all the time. With that being said it is much easier to lift weights and stay in shape now because I know people look to me for guidance and motivation.
What was your favorite thing to do during camp?
Favorite thing to do during camp was SLEEP. After so many hours on the field and doing film sessions, sleep at camp was precious.
What was your least favorite thing to do in camp?
Waking up super early to catch the bus to the practice facility was terrible. We only had three buses and if you missed them well…
Can you give a little run down of an ideal running back strength and conditioning program?
Being a running back you have to be well versed in many areas. Strength to take on D-linemen but the agility to make a linebacker miss, with the speed to outrun a defense back. What does that mean? You have to train for every type of situation possible making you the most versatile athlete on the field at once.
After leaving Duke, you slowly started My Dose Of Healthy Fitness and Prime Athletic Training & Fitness Institute. Why was this important to you?
After Duke I started teaching at a charter school K-6th grade. Being in the classroom I saw that it wasn’t just the kids who needed help and guidance but their parents and other adults who taught the children. Everyone needed a dose of health fitness in their life, however with MDH FITNESS didn’t just come fitness help; mental, spiritual and emotional help as well.
What are some struggles you’ve had to overcome as a fitness entrepreneur?
The biggest struggle I had and sometimes still have as a fitness entrepreneur is finding time to work myself out. I get so caught up with training others and doing administrative work I forget to workout and eat properly.