One website suggests that just one in 39 athletes will end up playing football at the Division I level. That’s 2.6 percent.
That represents an average situation: average upbringing, average high school, average home life, a student with average academics, and an average injury history.
What’s considered “average” depends on an endless number of variables including time, location and the person involved.
Recently, when former L.C. Bird High School standout Daijuane Dorsey committed to the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, he not only beat the odds, he destroyed them.
“I want to thank all the coaches who recruited me,” Dorsey said on Twitter after his commitment. “Only half know what it took for me to get here.”
In January 2014, Dorsey’s sister, Kadijah Stewart, was shot to death while sitting in a car. It was devastating, but Dorsey used it as motivation, changing his Twitter handle to @RipDijah and often hashtagging his tweets as a tribute to his fallen sister.
Months later, he took the field as a junior for L.C. Bird and made one of the biggest catches in school history. Subbing into the game, he hauled in a “Hail Mary” pass from Jalen Elliott (now at Notre Dame) in the end zone as time expired that beat Thomas Dale High School, 20-15.
In December 2014, Dorsey hoisted the 5A state championship trophy with the Skyhawks as a key component of the team’s secondary at cornerback. He honed his skills further and helped L.C. Bird win their third straight state title in 2015, the year he graduated.
Despite dealing with the loss of his sister, he was able to attract the attention of Lackawanna Community College, a popular option among local athletes who need to attend a junior college. However, more challenges awaited him there: an injury and a coaching change led to Dorsey being cut from the roster and sent home.
That’s when he found Fullerton College in California, a highly-ranked program that promised they could get him where he wanted to be: Division I. Five games into the 2017 season, he took the starting job and never looked back.
Dorsey received offers from Western Illinois, North Texas, Alabama at Birmingham and attracted interest from many other schools before becoming a Ragin’ Cajun.
Another former Skyhawk, Lionel Williams, played his college football in Louisiana, walking on at LSU and making the team. Now, Skyhawks faithful will have another reason to pay attention to what’s going on in the Pelican State.
Dorsey’s journey to find a college home lasted nearly three years, spanning nearly 5,000 miles across the country.
“It’s been a very difficult journey,” said Dorsey. “But I do what I do for her (Kadijah) and my family also, so I promised myself I wouldn’t give up. I knew I had the talent to play D1 football for a long time.”