Here’s a day in the life of E’Quan Dorris, South Fort Myers High’s star running back.
He arrives at the South Fort Myers High weight room long before most of his teammates, stays long after most have left, and then goes home and crushes another workout with his brother, Ed, a Wolfpack football program alum whose career he’s tried to emulate.
Work ethic is just one reason why Dorris checks in at No. 10 on The News-Press/Naples Daily News Big 15 list of best high school football prospects in Southwest Florida. He also has a blinding amount of talent.
“He’s an animal,” South Fort Myers coach Anthony Dixon says of his highly-touted running back. “He puts in the work every day. It doesn’t matter if it’s in the weight room, class room or football field, he’s doing work.”
Need some answers on Dorris as a player? Just watch.
The moment he runs, you understand without clicking a watch that he can get out fast. Maybe it can be argued that he’s one of the fastest running backs in Southwest Florida, although there’s no 40-yard dash time to prove it.
Some part of you just feels it. After all, he hit 10.97 seconds in the 100-meter dash this past spring in track and field.
You can see the strength in Dorris’ chest and his arms, so when he bounces off a defender during a 7-on-7 game and keeps running, it tells you on most days that it would take two, maybe three guys to pull him down with pads.
“I’ve coached a lot of talented kids, NFL players,” Dixon says, “This kid, he’s the overall best kid I’ve had the opportunity to coach in 19 years. He’s going to get what he deserves. He outworks everyone every day.”
And yet, the kid who made varsity as a freshman for one of the best programs in the county, and the player who picked up his first scholarship at the age of 14, is still kind of under the radar.
When the conversation begins about the best running backs in Southwest Florida, the talk inevitably goes in another direction.
“Right now, he feels a little disrespected,” Dixon says.
With scholarship offers from Florida Atlantic, East Carolina, Southern Mississippi, South Florida and Kent State, Dorris has plenty of options. But are they the right ones?
The 5-foot-10, 185-pounder chewed up 1,178 yards and scored 14 times in seven games last year, averaging nearly 9 yards per carry. He had four games of over 180 yards and five games with at least two touchdowns.
But he missed four games because of an emergency surgery to remove his appendix. Before surgery, he was hoping to eclipse 2,000 yards on the season.
When he returned, it was like the beginning of the season. He had to acclimate again.
Why is he underrated? That’s anyone’s guess. Maybe it’s size. Maybe it’s speed. Maybe it’s blocking technique, or a lack of tape as a pass catcher.
Dorris is using every bit of it as inspiration when he takes the football and starts churning more yards.
“I have to prove myself,” Dorris says. “I need to prove to people that I’m still as good a player as I was my freshman year.”
Dorris still keeps showing up at the weight room. He’s continues to improve on a 260-pound bench press and a 405-pound squat. His teammates consider him a leader.
Over the summer, he’s worked on adding versatility to his repertoire. He’s expected to see time in the slot. Dixon will name him one of the team’s captains in the fall.
He practices route running and perfects timing with a handful of quarterbacks. It’s one aspect of his game that’s always been an overlooked. Traditionally, the Wolfpack have always featured strong receivers.
But Dixon believes South will give him opportunities to get open in the middle of the field this fall. He’s been a willing pass catcher during 7-on-7s.
“That will change this year out of the backfield and in the slot position,” Dixon said. “In his recruiting, I think it will help him a lot more if we put him in those situations.”
In the meantime, Dorris continues to do what he does best. He also cut his hair, going from long dreadlocks last fall to a shorter, cleaner look.
It’s not much of a surprise that his name already occupies a few records on the walls of the school. After all, he began playing as a freshman. But Dorris could break as many as four football records at the school when all is said and done.
“I’m trying to have the most records on the board,” Dorris said.
And to him, it’s just more proof that he’s one of the best, if not the best, football player in the area.
The Big 15
The News-Press and Naples Daily News will be counting down the top football recruits in Southwest Florida every Tuesday and Friday until the start of the high school football season. The Big 15 features players going into their junior and senior years from Lee and Collier counties, with respect paid to those with hard scholarship offers and those without who possess great potential.
The Next 15
25. Jacob Tracey, Riverdale, WR: The 6-foot-3, 195-pound junior receiver has an offer from Southern Mississippi. He caught 34 passes for 574 yards and six touchdowns in 2015.