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Wednesday, July 05, 2017

Beyond The U: Ken Dorsey




Quarterback U’s Greatest QB: KD droppin’ bombs on the Vols Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

By Michael Burns

July 4, 2017

Legend of The U

Ken Dorsey is the Greatest Quarterback in the history of Quarterback U.

There’s really no argument,
but here’s the case for it anyway.

When you think of the greatest quarterbacks in University of Miami history, the big names often spring first to mind - Jim Kelly, Bernie Kosar, Heisman Trophy Winners Vinny Testaverde and Gino Torretta, maybe even George Mira Sr. if you’re old enough to remember him. None of them had a career at The U like Ken Dorsey.

Dorsey was the ultimate winner as the team's starting quarterback, with an unbelievable record of 38 wins and only 2 losses. Hed led the team to the 2001 National Championship over Nebraska. He should have gotten a shot at two more. The Canes (and Dorsey) were robbed by the refs in the 2002 Fiesta Bowl, and by the NCAA in 2000 when they selected FSU over the Canes, even though their records were the same and the Canes had beaten FSU.

Potentially, he would have been a three-time champion. No other Canes QB can claim that.


Legend. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images

Dorsey also rewrote the school record book. When he graduated, he was the career record holder for:

• Total Offense - 9,486 yards
• Passing Yards - 9,565
• Passing touchdowns - 86
• Pass Completions - 668
• Pass Attempts - 1,153
• Victories as a Starting Quarterback - 38
• Winning Percentage by a Starting Quarterback - .974
• 200-yard passing performances - 31
• Consecutive Passes without an Interception - 193
• Consecutive Games with a Touchdown Pass - 31
• Touchdown Passes in a Game - 5


Dorsey was named the co-MVP of the 2002 Rose Bowl, Offensive Player of the Year in 2001 and 2002, and First-Team All-Big East three times (2000, 2001, 2002). Dorsey was also a finalist for the Heisman Trophy in both 2001 and 2002; and the winner of the 2001 Maxwell Award for the national collegiate player of the year.

QB U’s G.O.A.T.(Greatest of All Time)? No doubt.
But what happened after this historically successful career at Miami? As you might guess, the NFL came calling for Ken Dorsey.


Not quite Montana or Young, but not bad. Photo by Robert B. Stanton/NFLPhotoLibrary

Pro Baller

Ken Dorsey was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers in the 7th round of the 2003 NFL draft. While teams did not question his leadership or football IQ, they did question his arm strength, which resulted in his low draft position..

The Niners were coached by former Canes HC Dennis Erickson. Their starting QB was Jeff Garcia, age 33, and Dorsey and 2nd year man Tim Rattay from Louisiana Tech were looked as potential replacements down the line. None of that ended up working out as planned.

Dorsey rode the pine in 2003, but in 2004 he ended up starting seven games when Garcia and Rattay went down with injuries. He put up 1231 passing yards, along with 6 TD’s and 9 interceptions. Unfortunately, this was not a good Niners team, and his record as a starter was 1-6. Dorsey played one more season as a backup in San Francisco, but was buried on the depth chart behind number one overall draft pick Alex Smith.

He was traded to the Cleveland Browns before the 2006 season, along with a 3rd round draft pick, for QB Trent Dilfer. Dorsey played 3 seasons in the Factory of Sadness, collecting a large amount of bench splinters in his football pants. The Browns, to no one’s surprise, continued to be terrible during his time there. In Dorsey’s last season in Cleveland, he managed to start three games, but only threw for 371 yards with 0 TD’s and 7 picks. He was released after the 2008 season - and just like that, his NFL playing career was over.

If anything, Ken Dorsey’s NFL playing career was the opposite of his college experience. While his arm strength limitations did inhibit his ability to succeed at the NFL level, the fact was that his last three teams at The U had much more high level pro talent than either the 49ers or Browns teams he played on. Surrounded with better talent, Dorsey might well have played a few more years in the NFL as a backup.

Back To High School

Dorsey and his family moved to Lakewood Ranch, Florida, about 50 miles south of Tampa. There he sat waiting for the phone to ring throughout the 2009 NFL season. When an opportunity arose in 2010 to become the QB Coach at Lakewood Ranch High School, Dorsey took it. He helped guide the Mustangs to a 6-5 record and a playoff berth. This became a turning point in Dorsey's life. Coaching (at Lakewood) I realized that my accomplishments gave me a unique platform, said Dorsey. If I wanted to help a quarterback on his accuracy, show a wide receiver tips on running a route, or just show that you can’t blow off education, the kids listened to me. On April 26, 2011, he was named offensive coordinator at nearby Riverview High School in nearby Sarasota, Florida.

Oh, Canada

In between high school football seasons, Dorsey got back into the pros - but this time in the CFL. Dorsey signed with the Toronto Argonauts on May 26, 2010. Once again, he found himself the backup QB, this time to former Miami Dolphins QB Cleo Lemon. His only action came in the club’s first pre-season contest when he completed 8 of 17 passes for 96 yards in a win over the Hamilton Tiger Cats. Dorsey lasted just one season in the Great White North, and on May 3, 2011, he announced his retirement from playing professional football.


Coach laying it out for Cam. Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Coach Ken

Later in 2011, Dorsey took a job with the IMG Madden Football Academy developing prospect quarterbacks, running backs, and wide receivers. The job offer came from old FSU rival QB Chris Weinke. Among Dorsey’s students were future NFL players Cam Newton, Christian Ponder, Randall Cobb, and Joe Webb.

Then the NFL called again. The Carolina Panthers offered Dorsey a pro scout position. He scouted the Panthers upcoming opponents each week; and evaluated free agents and prospects on other NFL rosters.

In 2013, Ken Dorsey was named the Carolina Panthers Quarterbacks Coach under offensive coordinator Mike Shula. Dorsey has been working closely with Panthers QB and former IMG pupil Cam Newton since then, helping Newton to the 2015 NFL MVP award, multiple Pro Bowls, and historic numbers for dual threat quarterback. He’s credited with helping Newton develop into a top shelf passer and one of the best players in the NFL today.

Dorsey is now considered one of the hot up-and-coming coaches in the league, and interviewed for the Buffalo Bills offensive coordinator position the past off-season.

U Family

Ken Dorsey was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame at its 45th Annual Induction Banquet on Thursday, April 11, 2013.

He continues to rep The U as he builds a great legacy on the NFL sidelines that looks to continue for many years.

Ken Dorsey - the G.O.A.T of QB U, pushing past a disappointing NFL playing career to reinvent himself as a top NFL coach - living life Beyond The U.

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