HIGHLAND SPRINGS, VA (WWBT) - Not long after he could walk, Greg Dortch’s NFL dream grew legs as well. Now the Highland Springs product finds himself just days away from discovering if that dream will become a reality through the NFL Draft.
Dortch declared for the draft following the conclusion of the 2018 season, his redshirt sophomore year, deciding to forego his final two years of eligibility at Wake Forest. He became the fourth Demon Deacon to leave school early to pursue his NFL aspirations.
The receiver and punt returner’s journey to this point began when he was young.
“I want to say I was maybe like four [years old],” Dortch remembered. “My mom has pictures of me, I was like two, running on the treadmill. I have pictures of me with footballs in my hands.”
Dortch’s high school career at Highland Springs began in ninth grade when head coach Loren Johnson pulled him up to the varsity level. The receiver recalled Johnson’s belief in him, despite being a smaller player. Dortch says he weighed about 140 lbs. his freshman season, but that didn’t scare his coaches away.
“I remember my first practice over there. I got hit really hard, got the wind knocked out of me, and I bounced back up and I haven’t looked back since,” Dortch said.
His high school career would be one to remember. Dortch would lead the Springers to a state championship during his senior season in 2015, capturing state player of the year honors in the process. He also learned a lot about how to separate himself from the pack.
“Football always came easy to me, and then as I got older, everybody’s fast, everybody’s strong,” Dortch reflected. “It’s what you do late at night or early in the morning that separates you from everybody else.”
Dortch’s success followed him to Wake Forest, where he would grow into one of the best all-purpose athletes in the nation. The former Springer earned second team All-American honors this past season, along with first team All-ACC accolades. 2017 saw him finish runner-up in ACC Rookie of the Year voting, and he pulled in a career-best four touchdown receptions in one game. In 2018, he was the only player in the country to return two punts for touchdowns in one game. Now, Dortch will take what he calls a “leap of faith” and bet on himself.
“Every time I set foot on campus at Wake Forest, I gave it my all, whether it was in the classroom or on the field,” Dortch said. “The tape speaks for itself. I was a two-time All-American, so there was really nothing [more] for me to do football-wise.”
In the end, it was about what could and couldn’t change if he returned to Wake Forest for another year of school.
“It really came down to measurables. I’m not going to grow 6′2” next year so I am what I am. I’m me and, like I said, I took a leap of faith and now we’re here."
Dortch wasn’t heavily recruited out of high school and suffered two injuries during his college career- a punctured intestine and a broken wrist. Given what he’s faced in recent years, which have included questions about his size, he feels fortunate to be in the position of possibly hearing his name called at the NFL Draft.
“I’m not even supposed to be here,” he smiled. “I get so excited just thinking about it, like this is my dream. It’s three days away. I know for a fact when my phone rings I’m going to cry. I’m going to have so many emotions just rushing through me and whichever team picks me, I promise you they’re going to get everything out of me.”
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