Don’t bother searching for Ohio University Bobcats’ middle linebacker Jared Dorsa in the 2018 MAC stat book to see if he is among the season leaders in tackles, sacks, tackles for loss, interceptions, passes defensed or any other defensive category: he’s not listed.
We can also save you the time and trouble of looking to see if he made a watch list in 2018 for the Bronco Nagurski Award, Chuck Bednarik Award, or some similar defensive “best in college football award:” he’s not listed. Oh, we also don’t suggest checking the 2018 All-MAC teams… he’s not listed there or anywhere when it comes to those kinds of things.
But as the MACtion calendar inevitably turns the page from 2018 to 2019, great players are lost and new ones emerge to take their place. This is where Dorsa comes in.
It's easiest to identify those tried-and-true returning players who have the stats, awards, and/or nominations to support a top 25 All-MAC selection. Yet, every year, someone not widely known becomes that way. Dorsa can be that player in 2019 based on his coaching, 2018 performance, and another offseason of development.
Ohio has had a great track-record of recruiting and developing linebackers during the Frank Solich era and Dorsa has had three full seasons developing in Ohio’s system.
The middle linebackers recruited and/or developed during the Solich era reads like an All-Star list, including three-time All-MAC performer and current Miami Dolphin Quentin Poling, Noah Keller, and Matt Muncy. Then there is the All-MAC talent at outside linebacker like Chad Moore, Lee Renfro, Alphonso Lewis, Jovon Johnson, and Evan Croutch. Finally, there are linebackers who didn’t get recognized as All-MAC for whatever reason but were great players (if you are interested in some great middle linebacker play, check out Keith Moore in Ohio’s win in the 2012 Independence Bowl)
When Dorsa got the chance to start at middle linebacker for the first time in 2018, he showed signs that he could be the next Ohio All-MAC middle linebacker.
Dorsa’s 2018 stat-line reflects a solid season by a player with skills in most areas of linebacker play: 59 tackles, 4 tackles for loss, 2 interceptions, 2 pass break-ups, a forced fumble, and a blocked punt. The player who ended the 2018 season clearly improved from the player who entered the 2018 season. One thing that stands out is the number of big plays in the second half of the season, which include two interceptions and a blocked punt.
Players are known to make their biggest performance jump in year two as a starter and Dorsa is expected to follow suit. With the opportunity to mature physically and mentally over another offseason, Dorsa should be prepared to make a bigger impact this season. There will be opportunities for Dorsa to make more plays with the loss of second-team All-MAC linebacker Evan Croutch and his 90 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, six pass breakups, 5.5 sacks, and two interceptions.
Look for Dorsa to be listed among the 2019 MAC stat leaders, make the 2019 All-MAC team, and get some 2020 post-season award nominations.