Portland native Brandon Dorsett, who has previous coaching experience at Falmouth, Deering and South Portland, spent last fall as an assistant coach at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida. The program fields some of the best players at the high school level in the nation, several of whom receive Division I scholarship offers.

Football has led Brandon Dorsett across the country, from his hometown of Portland to college in Iowa and then Colorado, then back to Maine. Now football has led Dorsett to Bradenton, Florida.

This past season, Dorsett was a football coach at IMG Academy, a high school football juggernaut. IMG’s Blue Team (yes, the school has two varsity teams) spent the fall of 2018 parked comfortably in MaxPreps national top 10. The Blue Team plays a national schedule, traveling to face other high school football powerhouses that would roll over an average team like a lawnmower.

Dorsett was defensive coordinator and linebackers coach for the White Team, which played a schedule of tough Florida competition. Even at that more modest level, the talent and commitment to football was impressive, he said.

“When I coached high school football in Maine, I’d work my full-time job, then go to practice,” Dorsett, a 2005 Portland High graduate, said. “This was football 24-7.”

Often, the two IMG teams practice together. It’s not uncommon for players to swing between teams, Dorsett said. IMG Academy alumni are all over college football. Alabama and Clemson, the teams playing in Monday’s National Championship, each have at least three IMG alumns on the roster. Notre Dame and Oklahoma, the other two playoff semifinalists, also each had at least three IMG players.

Dorsett began his collegiate playing career at Ellsworth Community College in Iowa before moving on to Colorado State University. Since returning to Maine, Dorsett had coached high school football at Falmouth, Deering, and South Portland. Last summer, he reached out to Adam Behrends, a teammate and friend from his days at Ellsworth Community College. Behrends had developed a career in coaching and worked at IMG as the quarterbacks coach. Dorsett wanted a little coaching advice from his old friend. That conversation became a job offer.

Soon after that initial conversation, Behrends called Dorsett back. IMG was looking for a defensive coach. Was he interested?

“Obviously, when that opportunity came up, I jumped at it,” Dorsett said. “It didn’t take very long.”

Dorsett’s wife, Angela, stayed in Maine for the fall, and he took off for Florida. It didn’t take Dorsett long to realize he was coaching football on a higher plane.

“This was a level of athlete in high school I’d never seen before. These are men, in their athletic abilities,” Dorsett said. “It was a huge culture shock at first.”

Dorsett also had to get used to the gaggle of Division I coaches gathered to scout practice. The constant access to everything football, though? That was a change Dorsett embraced.

“We have all these unlimited resources. I could watch film any time I wanted. Our facilities are second to none. We have four fields. It was an adjustment,” Dorsett said.

Dorsett is back home in Maine. He’s not sure if he’ll be back at IMG next season. He’d like to coach at a higher level, in college or the NFL. He could coach high school football in Maine again, maybe bring some of the advanced pass coverages and blitzes he coached at IMG to players here.

“I would love to give back to Maine football,” Dorsett said.

Football is Dorsett’s passion. If he had any doubts about that, a season coaching at IMG Academy made them evaporate.

Travis Lazarczyk — 861-9242

[email protected]

Twitter: @TLazarczykMTM

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