USF recalls a life that left a mark

Published January 25, 2007

TAMPA — USF senior linebacker Patrick St. Louis admitted he hadn’t hung out with teammate Keeley Dorsey away from the football field, hadn’t taken the time to get to know him the way so many have, all too late, in the eight days since the freshman running back collapsed and died during a weight-room workout.

Then St. Louis called to his teammates, all standing at his request during a campus memorial service Thursday, and asked them to turn to one other with a simple message: I love you, unconditionally. For all those  at the Sun Dome’s Corral who had  things they were never able to tell Dorsey, St. Louis reminded them to share the same thoughts with the important people in their lives, before it’s too late.

The gathering of about 800 — teammates, coaches, students and friends, some high school classmates who drove from Tallahassee — was a tribute to how quickly the 19-year-old had left his mark on USF’s campus. In just five months, he’d shown promise on the football field and character away from the game.

“He wasn’t an ordinary freshman,” senior quarterback Pat Julmiste said. “I can remember him coming in early in the summer, wanting to learn the plays, wanting to be an impact player. He was a bright guy, and I’ve never seen a freshman as focused as Keeley. He was great to be  around.”

The service allowed coaches and players to share their memories of Dorsey. Teammate Julian Riley, a Lakewood graduate, sang Amazing Grace.

Some wore black T-shirts with Dorsey’s picture on the front, the back adorned with the tattoo he had on his back: “Live for today. Yesterday is gone. Tomorrow may never come.”

 On Saturday, the team will travel by bus to Tallahassee for Dorsey’s funeral, to say a final goodbye as a team.

“This isn’t the only day we’ve been drawn together by this,” receiver Amarri Jackson said. “Everybody came out today, it says a lot about our love for him. It just shows you what kind of person Keeley is.”

Greg Auman can be reached at auman@sptimes.com or (813) 226-3346. View his blog at blogs.tampabay.com/usf.