MOBILE, Ala. -- When it comes to football, there are different levels of speed. Antonio Brown and DeSean Jackson come to mind as receivers who can vertically stretch the field because they’re often simply faster than the defensive backs who attempt to cover them. Here at the Senior Bowl, wideout Phillip Dorsett is striving to become one of the names on that short list.
He was introduced to the media at the stat of his Wednesday news conference as likely the fastest player in Mobile, and backed it up by saying that his fastest recorded 40 time basically broke the sound barrier.
“I have the U of M record -- 4.21 last summer,” Dorsett said.
That, folks, is super fast.
Of course, the Hurricanes have a long history of producing talented wide receivers. You’ve probably heard of Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Devin Hester, and Santana Moss -- all four are Miami products drafted since 2001.
And of that group, Dorsett said that he has developed a strong relationship with Moss.
“Every offseason he comes down and he works out at The U,” Dorsett said. “That’s kind of a guy I emulate my game off of. We talk all the time, we text all the time. He’s a really good guy as well. We have the same skill set, same body frame.”
Though he’s now 35, Moss has continued to play in the league. The 14-year veteran recorded 10 receptions for 116 yards, including three catches for 43 yards in the Rams’ 24-0 shutout victory on Dec. 7.
Dorsett said that Moss has made a real impact when it comes to running routes and noticing tendencies from defensive backs.
“Stay low, don’t give the DB any indication for when you’re breaking down,” Dorsett said of Moss’ advice. “Even things like playing in the slot, because he transitioned to the slot once he got a little older. Doing things like reading zone coverages, things corners do when they’re playing zone.”
“There’s a lot of different things and I’m just blessed to have him … in my corner,” Dorsett added.
That advice appears to have paid significant dividends, as Dorsett had a standout senior season. He caught 36 passes for 871 yards -- good for 24.2 yards per reception. That number was No. 1 in the ACC and No. 2 in the NCAA. He recorded a catch of at least 30 yards in nine of Florida’s 13 games in 2014.
Given those numbers, it’s clear Dorsett is a strong vertical threat. But he said he wants to be known as an all-around receiver, not just someone who can take the top off.
“I feel like I can play outside, inside,” Dorsett said. “Route-running [is one] of the things that they may have had a knock on me because I didn’t do much of it at UM, because I was a straight vertical route runner. So I’m just trying to show teams that I can do everything, that I can basically be an all-around receiver.”
While it can be difficult for receivers and quarterbacks to adjust to one another in a short time, Dorsett relayed that he had a bit of a leg up, given his relationship with one of the South team’s quarterbacks.
As for the next few weeks, Dorsett didn’t want to offer a prediction for just how fast he would run at the combine. But he did state a goal.
“Anything under 4.3,” he said, “That’ll be fine.”
Given how fast he’s proven to be in the past, he certainly has a good chance to do just that and plenty more at football's highest level.