Dorsey Norris has had an interesting road to get where he is today. Now, he’s hoping that that road will take him to the NFL.
The North Alabama safety lived in multiple states growing up. He went to junior college in California and dominated, making it to the All-Conference team. He then transferred to UNA in 2015, and, after being redshirted in his first year, impressed in his junior year. Now in his final year in college, Norris is looking to enter the pros once he graduates.
cover32’s Jacob Infante got the chance to talk with him about his career, his life, and his aspirations for the future.
You had a very good junior year, finishing second on your team in tackles with 67. You also had three interceptions last season. What’s your mindset heading into this new year?
Norris: My mindset is, definitely, finish the whole season, and not just individual goals, but more importantly, the national championship. That’s definitely gonna be my top goal, especially coming up short [last] year.
I was doing a bit of research on you and found out that you grew up in Hawaii. Is that right?
Norris: [laughs] Yes sir. My mom was actually, she just retired from the military after 20+ years. We moved to Hawaii when I was six, maybe turning seven years old, so I did grow up in Hawaii.
What was it like growing up there?
Norris: [laughs] It was definitely a great experience. It was a blessing to grow up in a beautiful state like Hawaii. I’ve learned a lot there; I’ve definitely become multi-cultural. It was a blessing, I miss it every day.
That’s still one of the places I’ve never gone to. I’m looking forward to hopefully going to Hawaii; I’ve heard nothing but good things.
Norris: Yeah, make sure you save up some money, though: the gas there is expensive.
At 6’2″ and 225 pounds, you have the size and frame that many other defensive backs would love to have. How has your size been beneficial to you so far in your career?
Norris: It’s definitely been beneficial, especially for the way I play the game. I’m definitely a more physical player; I love the physicality of the game, and I think, for me, it helps me do what I want to do, which is dominate my opponents, physically and mentally. To be completely honest, I’m a legit 6’1″, 217 pounds.
Nowadays, receivers seem to be getting bigger and bigger, so those NFL teams love defensive backs who have good size.
Norris: Yes sir. Yeah, I definitely think the game’s been changing, not just with receivers, but with defensive backs. Back in the day, defensive backs would be 5’10”, 5’11”. Nowadays, they’re reaching 6’1″, 6’2″, 6’3″, 6’4″.
When did you realize that you could play at an NFL level?
Norris: I would honestly say last year, after my junior season of college. It’s always been a dream and a goal of mine, since I was six or seven years old, when I first started playing. I didn’t realize how possible it was until after this past year, when I saw a lot of guys that I played against [go to the NFL].
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What do you think that you need to work on the most as you enter your senior year?
Norris: I think, for myself, what’s going to help me get into the next level is, more than likely, my testing. My 40-yard dash, my vertical jump. As a football player, I love the game so much that I’m learning it every single day. [I’m] learning schemes of offensive players, I’m learning the route trees. I’m just a student of the game, and I think that’ll help me mentally and physically.
Those testing numbers definitely help out. A lot of guys in recent years have had their draft stocks skyrocket because of good testing, so that’s a good area to focus on.
Norris: Yeah, most definitely. I believe that, the bench press, I’ll most definitely excel in. My shuttle, my drills, everything will look great, especially coming from my size. I just think that the 40 would be the eye-opener, or the eye-closer, in some cases, so that’s one thing I should work on.
What team did you root for growing up?
Norris: A lot of people won’t believe me when I say this, but growing up I wasn’t actually a big NFL fan. I was more into collegiate sports. I just loved the atmosphere, the way college teams present themselves. Growing up, I’d say I was a Carolina Panthers fan. I’m a South Carolina native, so I definitely loved watched the Panthers, with Mike Mitchell at safety. It was definitely the Panthers for me growing up.
You mentioned that you’re a collegiate sports fan. Which college team did you like?
Norris: My first collegiate game was actually a Clemson game, so definitely Clemson. As I got into high school, I was more of a, I guess you could say, a player fan. My senior year in high school, I was a huge fan of Taylor Mays and Kenny Vaccaro. I just became a fan of safeties more than a collegiate team.
Building off of that, which player(s) do you model your game after?
Norris: If I had to choose two, I’m definitely gonna go Brian Dawkins and Kam Chancellor. I to vocally lead the team as well as they do, and I love to be the enforcer of the team, a tone-setter with their big hits. They always come into every game with intensity – every game that they play, you’ll see No. 20 from the Eagles and you’ll see No. 31 from the Seahawks. That’s definitely how I like to play the game – just so much intensity and tenacity: nasty football.
Outside of football, how do you like to spend your time?
Norris: I actually feel like I spend most of my time in football, but I just like to sit around with my friends, play Madden. I’m more of an outdoors person, to be honest. [I like] going on hikes, if there’s a chance to get on a river, I definitely like to do that, or even go to the beach if it’s possible.
Let’s say I’m a general manager in the NFL. What would I be getting if I selected you?
Norris: You’d definitely be picking up a student of the game; someone who loves his job each and every day, someone with a positive energy, a positive mindset to want to get better and help the team win the Super Bowl. You’d definitely get a player who’s coming in hungry, especially coming in from a Division II [school] like myself. Just a player who loves the game, someone who’s not going to take a play off, whether it’s special teams or anything like that. Definitely a player you’d love to have on your team. I’m somebody who’s going to bring a lot of intensity, a lot of energy, and a lot of physicality to your team.
You can follow Dorsey Norris on Twitter at @DBU_DorseyUno.