Not many people can claim to be the fastest person alive, but former Miami Hurricanes wide receiver Phillip Dorsett has a legitimate claim to the title. He ran the 40-Yard Dash in 4.25 and 4.27 seconds at his Pro Day, after posting a 4.33 at the NFL Combine. One thing’s for certain: The dude has speed.
But that’s not all Dorsett wants to be known for. The Fort Lauderdale native knows that speed alone guarantees nothing in the NFL. That’s why he took his receiver drills so seriously at the Combine and his Pro Day. He wants—nay, needs—to prove to teams that the fly route, which was about the only one he ran at Miami, isn’t the only route he can run.
We caught up with Dorsett to talk about getting labeled a “speed guy,” having fun working out and what he plans to do with the $100,000 bonus he received from adidas.
STACK: When did you know you were faster than most people on planet Earth?
Phillip Dorsett: I was always one of the fastest guys in the neighborhood. I was real competitive with my cousins. I have a big family. My dad had 10 brothers and sisters, so I had a lot of cousins who were athletic. We always used to race and see who was the fastest in our family. I always got beat. But then I got older and became one of the fastest.”
Speed can be something you’re born with, but have you used any drills or training techniques to get faster?
A lot of my speed comes naturally, but I wasn’t as fast as I am until I really worked at it. I ran track my whole life, but I wasn’t a sprinter until junior and senior year of high school. So it was pulling sleds, wearing weighted vests, things like that. A lot of weightlifting. That’s when I really got fast. The 40-Yard Dash is really all about your explosion and your takeoff, so once I got that down pat, the sky was the limit for me.”
Speaking of your 40, you blew people away at your Pro Day. Who helped you perfect your form to run it that fast?
My strength coach at Miami, coach [Andrue] Swasey. He told me the 40 is all about power and increasing your stride length. You can’t run the 40 with small steps. You’ve got to have powerful, long strides. And it’s all about your 10. Once you get your first 10 yards down, the speed will come after that.
We’ve talked about your speed a lot, and so has everyone else. Does being labeled a “speed guy” bother you, or do you embrace it?
It used to bother me because I knew I was much more than just a speed guy. But once I got to my Pro Day and was able to show everybody I’m not just a speed guy and I can break down bigger, stronger guys that play receiver, I embraced it. I want to prove everybody wrong and show that I’m an all-around receiver. I’m just not as tall as your typical X receiver, but I feel like I can do the same things that they do.
Guys lauded your catching ability after your Pro Day as well. How did you feel it went?
I was just really excited to go out there and show what I’m capable of. Being able to do that in front of 32 teams and about 7 coaches and GMs, it excited me. Going out there, showing I can run the routes and catch the ball clean. I embraced it, and it was fun.
What was the grind like putting in all the work to prepare for the NFL Combine and your Pro Day? I know it’s a non-stop thing for you guys.
I’m kind of a different player because I look forward to working out every day. This is my life now, and it’s fun. Everything about football is fun. Working out, lifting weights, running routes, working on speed. It was a great process for me. It’s not about just working for the Combine, it’s working to play a football game. I’ve pretty much been doing everything at once.
Are there certain NFL offenses you dream of playing in? Like New Orleans or Green Bay?
Yeah, I think about it, but with this process, you never know. You never know where you’re going to end up. All you can do is hope for the best, and wherever you go, you’ve got to go out there and compete, and that’s what I love to do.
Who do you model your game after in the NFL?
Guys like Santana Moss, Antonio Brown, T.Y. Hilton, DeSean Jackson, guys like that. You see in stature they are the same size as you and do the same things you do. If I can become half of what they are, I’ll be successful.
Final question: Have you bought anything with the $100,000 you got from adidas for being one of the three fastest 40-Yard Dash runners at the Combine?
I’m saving it right now. I don’t know what I’m going to do with it. I’ll probably do something for my family. I’m not a big spender on myself. I’ll probably spend it on doing something good for my family.
Family huh? That’s pretty nice. I’m assuming they will all be there when your name gets called at the NFL Draft?
Yeah, I know we’re going to have one big group hug. It’s going to be emotional, because I’ve been working for this my whole life. But after that, the work don’t stop. So I’ll lock in and be ready to play the season.
Read about other stars of the 2015 NFL Draft: