With the 18th pick in the seventh round of last month’s NFL draft, the first – and only – Maryland football player went off the board.
Kevin Dorsey, whose long wait ended two Saturdays ago with a call from the Green Bay Packers, is set to take part in his first rookie minicamp later this week.
Dorsey, a Forestville grad, was a consensus four-star recruit for the Terps in 2008. He bided his time behind Torrey Smith and other veteran receivers before breaking out as a junior with 45 catches for 573 yards and three touchdowns in 2011.
Maryland’s revolving door at quarterback last fall limited Dorsey to 18 catches for 311 yards and four touchdowns, but the Packers were sold on his potential.
“It was quite a chore being a receiver (for that Maryland team),” Green Bay general manager Ted Thompson told Packers.com. “The numbers won’t look that impressive, but when you watch him work, see his build and strength, he’s impressive.”
Dorsey, who earned a bachelor’s degree in economics from Maryland, spoke to The Sun this week about his Terps career, getting drafted by Green Bay, and much more.
What was the weekend of the NFL draft like for you?
I guess it was the same for everybody – kind of stressful but also a very exciting moment in your life.
Were you nervous? What was going through your mind as the time passed?
I guess you could say hope for the best but be prepared for the worst. I figured it would be closer to the later rounds anyway if it did happen. I was fortunate enough for it to happen, to get drafted. I still had prepared a list of different teams you could possibly want to go to as an undrafted free agent. It just so happened Green Bay was actually No. 1 on my list. It was exactly where I wanted to be.
What did you like so much about Green Bay?
For one, I just loved the facilities. When I actually got to visit, got to meet the players and coaches, I just liked the whole town and atmosphere. You feel like it’s one big family, to be truthful. The fans are just so welcoming. The town owns the team, so you feel like you’re part of one huge family.
Where were you when Green Bay called, and what was your reaction?
I was just sitting at home with my family in my basement, with my parents, cousin, my grandparents, just watching. At that point, we had been watching all day. Some of them had dozed off, so we actually had to wake them up to see it. It was a very exciting moment to actually see your name pop up and get the call.
What do they expect from you?
Definitely come in and contribute to the team, whatever it may be. Receiver, special teams, it doesn’t really matter. That’s another thing I kind of fell in love with when I was there. It’s about just football. There’s not a lot of distractions. It’s just about football and winning. That’s what they live on.
When will you go out to Green Bay next?
I won’t be back out there until this Thursday … [for] rookie minicamp.
What are you looking forward to most about minicamp?
Really, just getting started. I can’t wait to get back out on the field and play. The season sometimes seems so far away, but it goes so fast. I can’t wait to get back out there and start playing football again.
You came to College Park as a pretty highly touted recruit, but it took some time for you to make an impact playing behind receivers like Torrey Smith, Adrian Cannon and LaQuan Williams. How would you characterize those first few years?
I would say if anything, those years were necessary. You still have to grow and you still have to learn. Actually, I was fortunate to have those guys in front of me to learn from. Those experiences I had with them, it’s something you can’t really replace. To get inside knowledge on how to run a route, how to read a coverage, how to better study a playbook, to get that from a guy who has already been there [was invaluable]. A few guys who actually progressed and made it to the next level, you saw their work and how they prepared. It gave you a baseline to push hard and work for yourself.
What changed when Randy Edsall took over for Ralph Friedgen as coach? How did that transition go for you?
It actually went pretty well for me. A few other guys didn’t necessarily transition as well with it, but I kind of always looked at it like being a business. You could be working for a certain company for a year, and you may get a new boss. Some things happen and you learn to address the situation. I always approached it from a business mindset.
Was it kind of frustrating that your most productive years coincided with two losing seasons?
Oh yeah, definitely. It’s not necessarily something that I wanted to put myself and the rest of the seniors through. We definitely wanted to go out with a bang. [I wanted] the last memory of when I played on this field [to be positive]. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen. But I can say one good thing is that I think almost every senior on the team now has an opportunity to play at the next level. That’s a positive thing.
What will you remember about both head coaches you played for?
Well, they both have two different types of coaching styles. I can say I definitely owe a lot to Coach Friedgen, who gave me my first opportunity. Also, I can thank Coach Edsall for the way he prepared us for every single day. He treated us as if we were already NFL guys. The way we do certain things, the schedule is set up for you to come prepared with the expectation and mindset of where to be in the film room, in the weight room and on the field. He definitely prepared us for that well.
What’s your best memory of being a Maryland football player?
Actually, I remember just talking about this with a friend. We were working out one day with the old strength coach, Dwight Galt. It was early in the morning, it was raining, and we had run those metal bleachers and run through the stadium. It was just one of those football moments where you’re working out, you’re tired, exhausted. We had just run sprints and everything and just kind of laid there on the grass, taking a deep breath. That’s what football is all about – sitting in the rain with the people you want to be around and love, being there for one common goal.
What are your post-football plans?
I’m not completely sure, but I do know I definitely want to get into stocks a little bit and own my own business. I have a few things in mind which I want to do. I’ll see how things pan out and what I can start to work on first. Those things are, more or less, for after football is completely over. I’m not giving them as much thought right now. They’re little steps I need to take to prepare for the future. Right now, I’m just focused on football.
Any regrets on your time in College Park?
Oh no, not at all. I look at it like God has a plan for everything for a reason. Anything that may have happened, a winning season or a losing season, it has its purpose. I think that at the end of the day, we all go through ups and downs, trials and tribulations. It’s necessary. You just have to persevere through different things. It builds character, and it happens for a reason.
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