Hunting for Greatness: How Van Dorselaer strives to be the best TE in Texas

Photo by Rodney Wooters

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Jack Van Dorselaer’s biggest motivation is to be the best. Not just on the football field, but in relationships with his family, friends and teammates.

“If you’re going to do anything, you have to give it your all,” Van Dorselaer said. 

Simple, but effective. And Van Dorselaer does just that. He gives everything his all in every aspect of his life.

On the field, the Southlake Carroll junior tight end is a fast, agile and powerful athlete who routinely creates mismatches with linebackers and safeties alike. Off the field, the Tennessee commit enjoys simple activities such as hunting and golfing that allow him to be outdoors with his friends. 

Van Dorselaer understands that with hard work on the field also comes mental fatigue. Hunting and golfing give him the chance to decompress from the stress of football while spending quality time with important people in his life. 

“Living in Texas, hunting is kind of a big deal here and I really enjoy going out to the country and hanging out with some of my buddies and getting away from everything,” Van Dorselaer said. “It's a fun sport, but at the same time, it’s good for me just to get out of the house and get away from everything.” 

Van Dorselaer understands that to keep playing football at such a high level, he needs to take care of himself and the relationships in his life. Hunting with his friends is just one of the ways that he keeps up those relationships and it allows him to look back on fond memories. 

“My best memory from a hunting trip was when I got my first pig on my buddy's ranch and really just the jokes that we shared during that trip and just being able to get your my first pig with them,” Van Dorselaer said. “That was a fun experience for me being able to learn some stuff from my from my buddies that have been doing this for a while. I enjoyed my time and it was good to get out there and be outside with them.” 

Taking time away from football by going on hunting trips allows Van Dorselaer to sharpen his mind off the field too, especially when things get challenging. 

“It's important to take time to deal with some of the mental aspects that football brings,” Van Dorselaer said. “The way I deal with it is just spending time with my friends and family.” 

Through all of his football success, his parents have become VanDorselaer’s biggest supporters. 

“My mom and dad play a huge part in my success on and off the field and especially off the field,” Van Dorselaer said. “It's just nice to be able to talk to them. They're great listeners and they really helped me with a lot of things that the sport brings.”

Van Dorselaer is one of the best players in Texas, ranked by as the No. 42 player in Texas and No. 2 tight end.

Despite offers from the likes of Alabama, Auburn, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Michigan, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, USC and others, Van Dorselaer opted to commit to Tennessee on Jan. 7.

“Something about Tennessee that really drew to me was Coach [Josh] Heupel and Coach Alec Abeln,” Van Dorselaer said. “The moment I stepped on campus, they treated me really well. I'm going to be playing at Tennessee for four years, but I wanted to go to a place where I'd be proud to represent the team colors and be proud to represent the T on the side of my helmet for the rest of my life.”'

He was not only drawn to Tennessee because of the coaching staff but also because of the Smokey Mountains. Though he’ll be several states away, he’ll do what’s necessary to maintain those important relationships in his life.

“I like to say that I'm there for my friends and family,” Van Dorselaer said. “If they ever need anything at all I always have their back and always go to bat for them. That’s something that I really take pride in and want to work on is being a good friend and a good family member. A good brother, good son and a good teammate off the field.”


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