When starting cornerback Ukee Dozier was asked to describe himself in three words, he replied with, "silent, but deadly." This fifth-year senior is considered a role model and an experienced leader on the Golden Gopher Football team, but leads by example, not words.
Dozier was born and raised in Fort Myers, Fla., and went to high school in Bradenton, 40 miles south of Tampa. After high school he knew he wanted to play football and leave the state of Florida. He wanted to try something different and leave the state where he spent his whole life. The University of Minnesota started recruiting him and Dozier got to see what being a Golden Gopher was all about.
"To be honest, I new nothing about Minnesota before they recruited me," Dozier explained. "Then I came for my visit and saw what it was all about. I met former Florida guys like Tyrone Carter and Willie Middlebrooks and realized if they could make it here, adapt and succeed, then I could too."
Dozier made the decision to follow in the footsteps of former Florida football players and has adapted well over the last five years. He made Minnesota his home and became an integral part of the Golden Gopher Football family and the defensive team. He has started in 32 of 37 games in his career and has led all cornerbacks in tackles the past two seasons. He has 142 career tackles with 17 career breakups, tying him for ninth on the school's all-time list.
"I decided to do something different when I came here and I like it," Dozier expressed. "Minnesota is a good fit for me as a student and athlete."
Attending the University of Minnesota is very important to Dozier and his family. He is the first person in his family to go to college and he wants to make them proud. Dozier has an older brother, older sister and mother that are very supportive and proud of him. Dozier feels lucky to have such a close knit family. He hopes to reach all his goals and give back to them for all they have done over the years.
"I want to set an example and make my family proud," Dozier explained. "I want to take advantage of all my opportunities that I have been given. I am very fortunate to be able to go to school here and play football."
Over the last five years, Dozier has become very familiar with the way the Gopher football program runs and how this team can succeed. Therefore, most of the young guys look to him for leadership. However, Dozier is not a man of many words. He will play his game and lead by example.
"He has been around here the longest and there is not much he has not seen," defensive secondary Coach Lockwood said. "He has the confidence and experience and is feeling comfortable. He is not a real vocal guy, but shows it on the field."
Dozier is not the type of guy who is going to be talking to the opposing team. He will just kill you on the next play. Over the years he has learned how to bring his game to the next level when it is needed and prove himself on the football field.
"He is starting to play with more emotion," Lockwood explained. "He has always been an emotional player, he just was afraid to let it loose or show it. He has this swagger about him and is having some fun."
Dozier realizes that his leadership role is important for the whole team. He was in their shoes once before and knows how difficult it is to come into a team and fit right in. There are a lot of guys who look up to him for guidance and he wants to show them what it takes to make it.
"I will be here to help out whenever they need anything," Dozier commented. "They are my boys. I have never been a big talker. I am quiet and keep to myself, but I will express myself through my actions and I think people learn better through one's actions."
Dozier has confidence in this team and believes that their preparation over the summer is better than ever. The Gopher football team went into the summer with a different attitude then years past. Each was ready to get down to business and improve their game, so the team can improve overall. Dozier and the entire team has one goal in mind and together they can achieve it.
"We all know how good we can be and how hard we have worked, now it is time to prove it to everyone else," Dozier stated. "That is the fun part, going out there and winning."
Dozier goes into his final season as a Golden Gopher and he strives to have a season that he will never forget. But instead of talking about it, he will show everyone how it is done. He is and always will be "silent but deadly."
Written by Jessica Fleischmann, Golden Gopher Fund Office Specialist. Fleischmann welcomes comments at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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