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Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Future NFL star Dorsey poses problems in trenches

The possible No. 1 pick in the 2008 NFL Draft hides down on the bayou, listening to Phil Collins and building on a foundation set in high school.

He?s not a franchise quarterback, a future 1,000-yard rusher or a me-first wide receiver.

He?s Glenn Dorsey, a dirty-work defensive tackle out of LSU.

No. 72 will showcase his skills for a national-television audience Saturday night as top-ranked LSU hosts No. 9 UF for an 8:28 p.m. kickoff.

ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. has saved the top spot on his 2008 big board for Dorsey in recent weeks.

Colleague Kirk Herbstreit labeled Dorsey the best player in college football, praise printed just below Dorsey?s smiling face on page 74 of the team?s media guide.

The program may be playing up Dorsey, but the man himself just wants to play ball.

BIt?s good to hear somebody say that about me,C Dorsey said. BI just try to focus on football.C

His 6-foot-2, 300-pound frame barely registers a blip on the Heisman Trophy radar.

But he could very well become the first defensive tackle taken No. 1 overall since Dan BBig DaddyC Wilkinson in 1994.

If so, he would join JaMarcus Russell as the first college teammates as top picks in back-to-back years since Southern Cal in 1968 and 1969.

Trivia geeks are salivating, but Dorsey couldn?t care less.

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BI don?t really get caught up about that,C Dorsey said.

He keeps to himself on game day.

Dorsey toggles through his iPhone before games to find his favorite song, Collins? 1980s hit BIn the Air Tonight.C

BI just try to zone out and get into my own little zone before each game,C Dorsey said. BThat song really gets me excited because I can feel it coming in the air tonight.C

He first picked up the tune while playing at East Ascension High School in Gonzales, La., about 30 minutes from LSU?s Baton Rouge campus.

BIt?s one of my favorites, too,C said Billy Beasley, Dorsey?s high school coach, who played the song during team workouts.

Once he gets on the field, Dorsey estimates he faces double teams 80 percent of the time.

That dates back to high school, too.

BHead coaches and offensive coordinators would call me the week before the game and they would say, 'Billy, this is really unfair,?C Beasley said.

At first, coaches complained that no one blocker could stop Dorsey.

They threw out plays with a scheme of single blocking him.

The calls kept coming.

Dorsey had started breaking the double teams at will.

BIn high school, I basically did what I wanted to,C Dorsey said.

Coaches scrapped even more plays.

BThere aren?t any plays in your playbook that call for triple teams,C Beasley said. BIt just doesn?t happen. So pick your poison.C

At LSU, Dorsey rotated with All-America tackles Kyle Williams and Claude Wroten in his first two seasons.

He broke out as a junior in 2006 and earned first-team All-America honors.

His 64 tackles ranked third on the Tigers, an astounding achievement for somebody constantly double-teamed at a stat-dry position.

He registered four tackles, including one for loss, against the Gators last year.

BHe?s probably the best one we?ve seen so far,C UF center Drew Miller said. BI?ve watched some film on him, and it just looks like he attacks the offensive linemen and tries to drive them back and make a play.C

No matter how Saturday turns out, the Gators can feel relieved after it?s all over.

They won?t have to put up with Dorsey anymore.

Dorsey?s high school jersey already hangs in East Ascension?s field house.

Come next year, an NFL one might be hanging right beside it.

BIt?s very hard for you as a high school coach to realize that you probably are coaching one of the best defensive tackles in the nation,C Beasley said. BThat?s one of the best players in the country.C

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