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Tony Dorsett - Steel Mill Town

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Tony Dorsett was born on April 7, 1954 in Rochester, Pennsylvania. He was the sixth of seven children in the family. Dorsett's father, West, worked in the steel mills for thirty years. Dorsett was very attached to his mother, Myrtle, who ran the household and carted the children to the Methodist church every Sunday. After his older brothers got into trouble for being out late drinking, Dorsett's parents laid down the law with him, and he avoided much of the trouble so readily available in the neighborhood. Although the family lived in a government-funded project called Plan 11, the housing development was clean and well-kept.

All his siblings were known for their speed, and Dorsett was no exception. His older brothers were track and football stars before him, and they served as Dorsett's role models and motivators. Upon entering high school Dorsett followed his brothers to Hopewell High School, located in a predominately white neighborhood, where a small number of black kids from the projects were bussed. Dorsett was determined that he would not end up working in the steel mills. Finding a better life was always in his mind.

As a sophomore Dorsett made the varsity football team, despite the fact that he only weighed 130 pounds. He played the season as a defensive back, and he quickly proved that he had the speed expected from a Dorsett boy. As a junior, Dorsett moved to the running back position. Over the next two years he scored forty-two touchdowns and led his team to consecutive 9-1 seasons. During high school Dorsett's reputation as being hottempered grew as fast as his reputation as an excellent football player. He was involved in numerous fights and was once briefly suspended from sports.

By his senior year Dorsett was drawing the attention of college scouts. Although he was recruited by more than one hundred colleges, Dorsett, who wanted to stay near his family, chose the University of Pittsburgh. It was risky move, considering Pitt had gone 1-10 the previous season and did not have the national media coverage of other top programs knocking on Dorsett's door. But Dorsett put his trust in the university's new coach, Johnny Majors, and his assistant Jackie Sherrill. On February 17, 1973, Dorsett signed a letter of intent to attend Pitt.

Tony Dorsett - University Of Pittsburgh [next]

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over 9 years ago

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