Oct. 27, 2005
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - For the past four years, senior Brandon Torre has been chasing opponents all over the football field. Now Torre finds himself chasing JU history.
Torre, who is not your typical college linebacker at 6-feet, 205 pounds, has made quite a reputation by possessing an uncanny nose for the football. Despite being undersized, the Tallahassee native has amassed 237 career tackles, 30.5 tackles for loss and 11.5 sacks in 31 games.
"The amazing thing about Brandon is his ability to always be around the football," said JU head coach Steve Gilbert. "He has a great love for the game and leaves the field knowing that he gave everything he possible could."
The final chapter has yet to be written with Torre becoming the all-time career tackle leader in JU history. With four games remaining, Torre is only 29 tackles away from surpassing former linebacker Tommy Swindell, who set the standard with 265 tackles from 1998-2001.
Torre, who is currently 11th in the nation with an average of 11.5 tackles per game, is on pace to claim the ultimate defensive prize before hanging up his cleats at the end of the season.
"Brandon is the rock of our linebacker corps and one of the toughest players I've ever coached," said Dolphin defensive coordinator/linebacker coach Craig Hauser. "He's not a big guy and doesn't possess the great athletic ability of others, but he makes up for it with tremendous effort and determination."
Torre made his way to Jacksonville University after grabbing the attention of head coach Steve Gilbert as a senior at Leon High School in Tallahassee. Torre was a two year starter and recorded more than 100 tackles his senior year.
After sitting out the 2001 season as a redshirt, Torre's tackling campaign began in 2002 when he appeared in eight games as a redshirt freshman. His play made a statement, as he became a starter the last four games of the season. He tallied 40 tackles to put him well on his way towards JU football history.
Torre's second year did not start out as promising when he sat out the first two games of the season with a knee infection.
"I had a great pre-season and I was bigger and stronger than I had ever been," said Torre. "But I lost 20 pounds because of the injury, so it was a little harder to get around. I was just excited to be able to play."
Torre found his groove once he was reunited with the playing field, by collecting 59 tackles to make him the third leading tackler in 2003.
As a junior, Torre showed his dominance by tying for fourth in the Pioneer Football League with 92 tackles, en route to first team all-conference accolades.
Entering the 2005 season, Torre hardly acknowledged the fact that he had a shot at the tackle record.
"I knew what I had in front of me and what I needed to do to break the record," Torre said. "It was only in the back of my mind though. I believed if I played the season the way I wanted too, it would come."
So far, Torre is playing the way he wanted. In four games, Torre leads the squad with 46 tackles (32 solo), despite a shortened season in which the Dolphins had two games cancelled. Torre also received PFL Defensive Player of the Week honors after recording 12 tackles, two forced fumbles and blocking an extra point in a win over Butler on Sept. 24. It marked the first time a Dolphin football player has claimed the conference award outright since JU joined the conference in 2001.
Even with the record right in front of him, Torre is most concerned with helping the Dolphins win. Whether the PFL South title is on the line or not, Torre will continue to give his all, despite playing through pain, as he will be remembered as one of JU's fiercest defenders of all time.