Editor’s note: This is the fourth in a series of excerpts from The Advocate’s upcoming book, “LSU BY THE NUMBERS,” celebrating the best player (and other greats) to wear each number in Tigers football history. This week: No. 72, Glenn Dorsey.
LSU fans loved Glenn Dorsey, a homegrown defensive star from just down the road at East Ascension High in Gonzales.
Dorsey loved them right back. That love, and a nagging shin injury from 2006, weighed heavily in his momentous decision to return for his senior season in 2007.
“You see 1-year-old girls at the games in cheerleader outfits,” Dorsey said. “She doesn’t know what’s going on, but she’s out there cheering for us. That’s what I think of when I’m tired in a game. Here’s a 90-year-old guy out there at the game. He can’t do much, but he’s pulling for LSU.
“I love playing in that kind of environment. I love being around LSU.”
Born in 1985, Dorsey was known as “Putt” as a young child. The story went that the only time he would get up and walk as a toddler was when a commercial for Putt-Putt miniature golf came on the television. But perhaps Dorsey’s development really had to do more with his severely bowed legs, legs that required metal braces when he was 3 years old.
Rated as the No. 2 prospect in Louisiana for the Class of 2004, Dorsey put the college football world on notice from his very first collegiate snap, forcing a fumble against Oregon State. As a sophomore in 2005, he was in the defensive tackle rotation behind All-Americans Kyle Williams and Claude Wroten, filling his role until his breakout season in 2006.
Despite being double-teamed most of his junior season, Dorsey piled up 64 tackles (third on the squad) with 8½ for losses. He was named to five All-America teams as the Tigers rolled to an 11-2 record and wound up No. 3 in the final polls after crushing Notre Dame 41-14 in the Sugar Bowl.
LSU lost four first-round draft picks after the Sugar Bowl, including quarterback JaMarcus Russell as the No. 1 overall pick to the Oakland Raiders. Dorsey could have been the fifth, but he wanted to return for a chance to win a championship. He was a big reason the Tigers started the 2007 season at No. 2 in the preseason polls and never fell outside the top five despite two triple-overtime losses to Kentucky and Arkansas.
Even with those losses, the Tigers won the BCS national championship, beating Ohio State 38-24 after outlasting a raft of two-loss contenders in the wildest college football season ever. Meanwhile, Dorsey swept up just about every award he could get. In addition to his consensus All-American status, Dorsey captured the Lombardi Award, the Bronko Nagurski Trophy, the Outland Trophy and the Lott Trophy, the first LSU player to win those awards. They made him the most decorated defensive player in the history of a program that has long prided itself on that side of the ball.
LSU fans from 1 to 90 watched as Dorsey got showered by purple and gold confetti after beating Ohio State and getting to kiss the BCS trophy’s Waterford crystal ball. The once bow-legged kid from Gonzales went out the way every senior hopes to go out: as a champion.
“Even if you’re from a small town,” Dorsey would tell youngsters when he spoke at schools in the Baton Rouge area, “you can dream big and make things happen.”
A few months later, Dorsey went with the fifth overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft to the Kansas City Chiefs, at the time the highest-drafted LSU defensive player ever (end Tyson Jackson would go third to the Chiefs in 2009). Dorsey played five seasons in Kansas City and four more with the San Francisco 49ers before retiring in 2016.
To pre-order “LSU BY THE NUMBERS” and receive a $10 discount off the $39.95 cover price, please visit www.LSU.PictorialBook.com. The book will be published in November and ships Dec. 4, 2020.