Presbyterian Christian's Rico Dorsey named PineBelt Sports Player of the YearBy JESSE JOHNSON,
Presbyterian Christian High School standout Rico Dorsey has had dreams of playing at the next level ever since elementary school. At an early age he knew that he was a cut better than his competitor.
There was no shortage of athletes in his family’s DNA. His mother played basketball at Clemson, his sister competed in track at Alabama and his father played football at Fairfield Central in South Carolina.
With big shoes to fill in the likes of Isaiah Woullard (Ole Miss) and Jerrion Ealy (Ole Miss), Dorsey set goals in the preseason and came out with one of the best high school years in the state.
Although success has been in Dorsey’s favor, the kid recognizes the importance of team and how football has molded him as a young man.
“Another one of my goals when I got here was to make everyone else better,” Dorsey said. “I saw the greats before me like Ealy and Woullard and wanted to continue that tradition here. I wanted people to know that PCS has produced great athletes and I wanted to be a part of that history. Leading by example and pushing others to be better had a big part to the success I have had my senior year.”
Growing up in South Carolina, Dorsey decided to transfer to PCS for his senior season. As soon as he stepped onto campus, the community showed him love and he knew this decision was the right one.
“Everyone showed me so much love as soon as I got to PCS,” Dorsey said. “I knew right then that this was the place for me and went right to work.”
And work is what this young man did. With the help of Head Coach Derek White and others, Dorsey started his senior season with goals in mind – becoming the best player in the state and also setting himself up with college opportunities.
“Rico set some goals at the beginning of the year,” White said. “Up to this point, Rico hadn’t taken the ACT. With the help of a tutor and countless hours spent in the classroom, he reached that goal and scored a 19 on his first try. I am so proud of the way he managed his time and put the effort in to score high enough.”
With his ACT score out of the way, Dorsey set his efforts on the weight room and the upcoming season. Coming into the year the senior knew he needed to get bigger and faster if he wanted to get Division I looks. He started the summer around 155 and by the season start he was at 175 and quicker than he had ever been.
“I had goals set when I enrolled here and knew if I wanted to play college football that school came first,” Dorsey said. “I would spend six-plus hours a week trying to get my ACT score high enough to play college ball. With the help of others I reached that ; I’m proud of that.”
At the beginning of the summer, Dorsey also knew he needed speed to get him to the next level. Averaging around the 4.4 mark in the 40-yard dash was great, but he knew he needed to improve in that area as well.
Going into the late summer, White took a couple of his players to a camp at the University of South. That’s where Dorsey stood out amongst the kids who attended. Dorsey ran a 4.31 in the 40 and then colleges started pouring in with offers. That’s speed that most NFL players lack. Some Juco-level teams looked at him but this catapulted him to the top of a lot of the recruiters’ trails.
He has received offers from Mississippi State, the University of Southern Mississippi, South Alabama, Washington State, South Florida, Middle Tennessee, UAB, and a handful of others.
After getting the ACT score he wanted, improving his speed and increasing his size, the next thing to do was show his skills during the season.
Dorsey finished the season with 2,679 all-purpose yards – 1,677 of those were rushing yards on only 118 carries. That’s a 14.4-yard per carry. Dorsey led the nation in punt return average with 42.4 yards per attempt. Teams quickly learned not to punt to him later on in the season. He also had 709 yards receiving on 44 catches and added 24 total touchdowns on the year, an average of two scores per game.
In his third game of the season against Lamar Christian, Rico rushed 15 times for 283 yards and four touchdowns. That would not be his only 200-plus yard game as he followed that game with a 15 rushes, 266 yards and two-touchdown performance against Holmes.
He finished the year with five 100-plus yard rushing games and three 200-plus games.
Against Wayne Academy, the 5’11” senior caught six passes for 190 yards and three scores, making more of a transition to the wide receiver position. This is the position most colleges want him for.
During the Wayne Academy game, he also rushed for 117 yards on just four carries. One of those carries he took 99 yards for the score. It will be forever etched in the minds of Dorsey, fans and players.
“Coach called my number on the one-yard line,” Dorsey said. “It was a play right up the middle. Once I saw the hole I hit it and sprinted the rest of the way. I knew once I hit the hole that I was going to take it the distance. That was probably the most memorable play I had this year. Once I scored I handed the ball to the referee and got ready for the next play.”
After being disqualified from the playoffs due to scheduling reasons, the Bobcats found themselves in a bowl game in Florida against Holmes County High School to finish the regular season.
Dorsey was named MVP of the bowl game where he had 15 rushing attempts for 266 yards and two touchdowns – a passing touchdown, 43 yards receiving and two punt returns for 89, with one for a score bringing his total touchdown count to four.
Although the season didn’t play out the way he and the team liked, Dorsey made the best of the season and leaves a legacy that only few will achieve.
After the season had concluded, Dorsey was recognized by the MAIS with overall MVP Player of the Year honors.
And he was invited to play in the MAIS All-Star game. With his competitive nature locked in, he set out to be the best with Offensive MVP honors. He finished the game with 2 rushes for 75 yards and six catches for 75 and a score and was later named Offensive MVP.
“I wanted to come into the game and show I was the best athlete out there,” Dorsey said. “I really wanted to showcase my hands, so I set a goal to be the best receiver of the game. I was very fortunate to have plays called my way and left it all on the field. I got to showcase my speed as well. In the Wildcat formation I broke through and ran for a 75-yard touchdown. I was pleased with my performance but saw some things I could have corrected.”
It was plays and accomplishments like that on a constant basis that gives the senior his Player of the Year honors. His personality and self-driven goals are an example of how an athlete should carry himself. Stay tuned because the best years of Dorsey’s career are ahead of him.
Dorsey had chosen to continue to receive offers from schools, waiting on the right situation where he can come in and play from the start. Wide receiver is the position he is shooting for. He will wait until signing day in February to make that announcement.
Whichever school this athlete chooses, that school will get not only a great athlete, but a kid with humbleness and talent. Those are things he possesses that can’t be taught on the field. With the days counting down to signing day, stay tuned to Pine Belt Sports for coverage of the young star’s day.