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Phillip Dorsett's Game Much More Than Elite Speed

Intro: University of Miami football coach Al Golden has watched wide receiver Phillip Dorsett change his game since 2011. What was the turning point in Dorsett’s path to becoming a first-round pick?





INDIANAPOLIS – Before Phillip Dorsett became a first-round draft pick, he had to experience one of the worst moments of his football career in an NFL stadium.

As a sophomore wide receiver for the Miami Hurricanes, Dorsett and his teammates played under the bright lights of Soldier Field against Notre Dame.

With a primetime audience tuning in across the country, that October evening would have been the ideal time for any player's coming out party.

Dorsett's night would have been better had he not even shown up to the party.

Miami got the football first and wasted no time releasing their blinding sophomore wideout into the Notre Dame secondary.

Running all-alone behind the Notre Dame defense, Dorsett dropped two sure-fire touchdowns on the game's opening drive.

A chance for an early big play against a top-10 team vanished. Instead, a 41-3 drubbing to Dorsett's Hurricanes came after.

Social media didn't hold back in lashing out on Dorsett.

With his football career staring adversity in the face, Dorsett had a decision to make.

"I'm glad it happened to me because it made me the receiver that I am today," Dorsett said of his two early drops against Notre Dame.

"Just going in every day catching tennis balls, catching balls after practice every day, it's kind of sickening how my work ethic has gotten from then. You can't just be a speed guy. I've learned (in 2014) that guys are going to play off you and bring a safety over the top, so you just can't run by everybody. You've got to go underneath sometimes."

Miami head coach Al Golden watched Dorsett's game transform over his four years coaching him.

While Dorsett himself points to that Notre Dame game as a turning point in his career, Golden thinks back to a junior year season cut short due to injury.

"I think from that moment on, that January on, he was a guy who got his mind right, made a commitment and really developed as a player," Golden told 1070 The Fan earlier this spring.

"He's always had speed, but I think he really developed his hands, his ability to get in and out of breaks, change of direction. You're getting a heck of a football player and even a better person in Indianapolis."

Golden believes Dorsett's game has evolved in a few specific areas. Dorsett's elusiveness and use of hands at the snap make pressing the 5-11, 185-pound wide receiver difficult.

It's the work ethic that Golden witnessed in Dorsett that struck the head coach the most.

When NFL scouts and coaches began flocking to Miami, Golden quickly realized they were there to watch a future first-round pick.

"(Dorsett) did not get redshirted and missed almost half of his junior year, so his upside is high and from a character standpoint, there's nobody better," Golden says in trying to project Dorsett at the next level.

"He was a guy that was half football, half track until his third year, so I just think his potential to grow and develop as a player is just beginning. I think this is his floor, not his ceiling, without question."

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