Myles Dorn could’ve easily not been here today.
During the 2018 season, the Charlotte native and UNC safety played through a knee injury, then a separate injury kept him out of the UNC spring football game. In the past year, he also lost both of his grandfathers.
Dorn said the series of physical and emotional blows threatened to overwhelm him. But Dorn says the struggles helped shape him into the man he is today.
“It helped me figure out what I stood for, who I am, what I’m here for,” Dorn said.
The senior defensive back stood on a makeshift stage in Charlotte during ACC Media Day, dressed in a Carolina blue suit his mom helped him pick out. He said he intends to continue his family legacy at North Carolina with the program’s past and current head coach, Mack Brown.
Back during spring practice, the Tar Heel players seemed cautiously optimistic about the culture change Brown brought onto campus. Now, Dorn says, they’re all in.
“He told us that he was going to take care of us,” Dorn said, recalling that first time the team met Brown. “The day after he asked for what we could change. A month later, we saw it. He’s a man of his word. That’s something that you can’t compare to anybody else.”
Dorn believes Brown can turn the program around, especially after hearing what his dad, Torin, had to say. The elder Dorn played at UNC under Brown from 1986-89 as a running back and defensive back.
“He told me he was gonna tell you the truth, whether you like it or not,” Myles Dorn said. “He told me that he was gonna be hard. He told me that he was going to give you what you need ... He’s a Hall of Fame coach so he’s gonna get it turned around sooner or later.
“It’s going to change, but we want to be the group that changes that.”
Throughout his career Myles Dorn, a Vance High alum, has made a significant impact, even while playing through his multiple injuries. During his three seasons, he competed in all 33 games at safety, 20 of those as a starter. During his junior year, Dorn recorded 55 tackles, two interceptions and three pass breakups.
With his final season upon him, Dorn will step into a more prominent leadership role. It’s natural, he said, because the younger players look up to the veterans.
“Being able to do the right things all the time, knowing that people are looking at you, being able to tell people what they need to hear, not necessarily what they want to hear,” Dorn said. “Because I’m pretty cool with everybody, so telling people what they need to hear is kind of tougher than what they want.”
To kick off his senior season, Dorn and the Tar Heels will travel back to Charlotte on Aug. 31 to face SEC opponent South Carolina — a game that holds a special place in Dorn’s heart. He’ll finally get to play in front of his home crowd for the first time since his days at Vance.
“Everybody’s been reaching out to tell me that they’re gonna be here and the support is going to be crazy,” Dorn said. “This is what I played for. I play for my city and my community.”
The encouragement made Dorn realize the game is much bigger than himself, which in turn helped prepare him for the hard times that laid ahead. In a game where it’s the next man up, Dorn said, it’s easy to feel overlooked and forgotten when you’re injured.
“When you’re an athlete, your body is what people praise you for,” Dorn said. “It’s what you need in order to do what you do and when that’s gone, your sense of who you are kind of leaves.”
During his ups and downs in Chapel Hill, Dorn said he discovered who he is at his core — an ‘inspirer.’
“I’m the person that just wants to spread love around,” Dorn said. “That’s what the world is missing — doing stuff for other people without expecting something in return.”