The Columbia, S.C. native started as both a junior and senior and finished his tenure in Tigertown with 161 tackles, nine sacks and one interception. In the 2009 NFL Draft, he went in the fourth round to the St. Louis Rams. Currently the Rams’ No. 2 option at right defensive tackle, Scott is getting some invaluable on-the-job training by playing behind starter Clifton Ryan.
And like most rookies, Scott’s adjustment to the NFL is an ongoing thing, something that never really ends even once a player is officially no longer regarded as a rookie. CUTigers.com recently caught up with Dorell by phone from St. Louis and here’s what he had to say:
How do you look back on your time at Clemson?
Scott: Clemson, it’s a great place. I really enjoyed my time there. I still talk to some of the guys that are currently on the team. I talk to Jamarcus Grant, Brandon Thompson, Da’ Quan (Bowers) and Ricky (Sapp). I still talk to a lot of the guys. They check on me and I check on them.
What was your relationship with Coach Swinney?
Scott: Coach Swinney had a good impact. He stood up there, he believed in us and he wanted us to fight. It seemed like we had the world against us and he stepped in and said, ‘Hey, I’m here with you no matter what.’ I think that really helped out the team. We felt like no matter what happened before, it didn’t matter. It was all about from that point on to the end of the season.
What about Coach Bowden?
Scott: Coach Bowden, I respect him greatly. He gave me the opportunity to play college football. He gave me a scholarship and gave me an opportunity to showcase my skills. I greatly appreciate him giving me that opportunity.
Did experiencing that coaching change last year give you an idea about how life is like in the NFL?
Scott: At that time, I really wasn’t thinking about it but now that you mention it, it is definitely like a reality. Stuff like that happens every day in the NFL. You have guys going and coming. You’ve just got to be able to adjust to anything. As a player, your job is to go and play. It would impact me, but I know I’ve got a job to do.
What was your favorite memory overall?
Scott: I’d say my favorite memory was when we played Georgia Tech for homecoming and we had (ESPN’s) Game Day there. We came out in all purple. That was probably my greatest moment.
How much do you miss getting to touch Howard’s Rock before Clemson games?
"I’d say my favorite memory [at Clemson] was when we played Georgia Tech for homecoming and we had (ESPN’s) Game Day there. We came out in all purple. That was probably my greatest moment." (Getty Images)
Scott: I miss it. It’s different from running out with the Rams because you come down the hill and rub the rock when you come out of the tunnel. I miss it but I’ve got to move on from it.
Being a Columbia native, how much more meaningful were the Clemson/South Carolina games for you?
Scott: Oh yeah, that definitely made those games more meaningful. My mom stays like 15 minutes away (from South Carolina). That year we lost to them, I heard about it all year no matter where I went. If we wouldn’t have won those games, I wouldn’t have wanted to go home because there would have been a lot of guys from Columbia saying, see, you should have gone to SC. That game definitely means a lot.
What was the NFL Combine like?
Scott: The combine, it was a good experience. I feel like I was prepared for it. It was kind of like an eye-opener. I can’t really put it into words. It was an experience.
Did you ever think the Rams would be the team to draft you?
Scott: I had no clue from the beginning. I know that some of the guys that went before me, I took visits to a couple of teams and they were like, the teams that work you out and visit with you, nine times out of 10, it’s not one of those teams that drafts you. I knew that wherever I ended up, that was where I ended up.
What's been your biggest adjustment playing in the NFL?
Scott: I’d say the biggest adjustment has been the speed of the game. College is fast but the NFL is a lot faster and everyone is more detailed in what they do.
Which of the team’s veterans has been the biggest help in your acclimation to the league?
Scott: I’d say one of the best guys who has been helping me out has been Clifton Ryan. He has been staying on me. If he sees something I need to work on, he’ll call me out on it.
What is the biggest misconception that the average fan has about the life of an NFL player?
Scott: I think the biggest misconception is that people don’t realize how hard we work. They just see what happens on Sundays but it takes a lot of preparation and stuff to get to Sunday. I would say that the work load we have (is the biggest misconception).
Being an NFL rookie means paying your dues (hazing from veterans). How much have you had to endure this far?
Scott: I really haven’t had to do a lot. The biggest thing was when I had to get up and sing in front of the team twice. I haven’t really had some serious hazing. It hasn’t been too bad. I had a lot of fun. I had to buy a meal but it wasn’t too bad. Everybody goes through it.
How much of an adjustment was it moving from Clemson to St. Louis?
Scott: I would say it’s really not a big adjustment. The temperature is always consistent where it’s cold and rainy one week and sunny the next Yeah, they are different places but it hasn’t really been too much of an adjustment for me. I got used to St. Louis during the OTAs and mini camps. I feel like I have adjusted to it pretty well.
What is it like being part of the Clemson fraternity in the NFL?
Scott: It means a lot. Those are guys that accomplished a lot while they were at Clemson. They have also accomplished a great deal in the NFL. I just want to be able to keep that tradition going and accomplish a lot while I’m able to play too.
Have you been able to keep up with Clemson football this year?
Scott: Yeah, the only game that I have been able to catch was the Thursday night game when they played Georgia Tech. If I have time, I will look at the score or when they’re playing on my phone. I haven’t had a chance to see them too much this year.
You guys had some time off between the end of OTAs and the start of training camp. What did you do during that break?
Scott: During that break, I went back to Clemson and trained. I trained at Clemson for a while and then went back home to Columbia, where I ran on my own. I just made sure I stayed in shape because I didn’t want to come into camp huffing and puffing. I knew camp would be intense.