Dick Harmon: San Diego Chargers pick of SUU's Sorensen makes history
Smith was so upset and embarrassed, he fired his agent after the draft. Sorensen, however, was ecstatic that the Chargers drafted him. He hit it off with San Diego’s quarterback coach Frank Reich, who spent seven seasons with Indianapolis and worked with Peyton Manning. Sorensen and Reich got together at pro day at the University of Utah and later went to dinner.
Reich was involved in one of the greatest comebacks in NFL history with Buffalo when he started for injured Jim Kelly in an AFC wildcard game against Houston and rallied the Bills from a 35-3 deficit in the third quarter to a 41-38 win.
On draft day, Sorensen told chargers.com it was incredible that he got picked. “It’s an awesome, amazing feeling right now.”
That day was his grandmother’s 80th birthday party and almost everyone on his mother’s side of the family was at his house in California. “I finally got the phone call and they let me know I was picked. Then the selection came across the TV and that made it feel like the real deal.”
Sorensen is the son of Corey Sorensen, a former basketball and football teammate of Gifford Nielsen and Veryl and Vance Law at Provo High. His grandfather, Wilson Sorensen, was an early pioneer in the establishment of Utah Technical College, which later became Utah Valley University.
“I love the game of football. It’s one of the most important things to me, Sorensen said. "My whole life, I’ve just had to compete for everything that’s been placed in front of me. So, you’re going to get a guy who is going to come in and compete and work as hard as he can to make the organization as good as it can be.”
Sorensen joins another LDS Charger draftee, Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o. He also rejoins a former high school teammate, Charger corner Shareece Wright, who he has stayed in contact with over the years.
Sorensen will be returning to Southern California, where he grew up in Grand Terrance in the Colton area north of San Diego.
At SUU, Sorensen’s QB skills were a work in progress but he flourished under the coaching of head coach Ed Lamb and Clark.
At SUU, Sorensen completed 67 percent of his passes for 3,163 yards and 21 touchdowns his first season. He backed that up with offensive player-of-the-year honors in the All-Great West Conference with 67 percent completion and 3,143 yards. As a senior, Sorensen finished his career in 2012 by completing 273-of-439 passes for 62.2 percent, 23 touchdowns with 10 interceptions.
Of course, competition was not the same, but after Sorensen left BYU for SUU, neither Cougar QBs Nelson nor Heaps ever had a season in which they completed 60 percent of their passes. Nelson was a 55 percent career passer — Heaps, who transferred to Kansas, was 57.
"I remember Sorensen at BYU," said former Cougar outside linebacker Jordan Pendleton. "I didn't talk to him a lot, but my sophomore year that I started, he went up against our defense as the prep team quarterback."
Pendleton remembers Sorensen being a big guy with great size. "I went against him and Cody Hoffman every day and I remember he used to throw bombs to Cody all day long out there. He had a very strong arm. "I always thought he was pretty good, I don't know why he left. I don't know where he went then all of a sudden I heard he was at SUU setting records there. It's a pretty good story."
Dick Harmon, Deseret News sports columnist, can be found on Twitter as Harmonwrites and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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