Southern’s Lee Doss, Tulane’s Lorenzo Doss share football, family

Football helped the Doss brothers become best friends.

The sport sealed their bond, from catching bricks together in the backyard with their father, a test in mental focus, to playing one season of high school football together at St. Augustine.

Then football, with its ironic story lines, separated Lee and Lorenzo at their closest point. Their three years difference in age sent one to college, where the other was sure to follow, just not that soon. Or to the same school.

That’s why Lee, a redshirt senior receiver at Southern University, and his younger brother, Lorenzo, a sophomore cornerback at Tulane, counter the miles between their campuses and even greater distances on gamedays with a support system that can’t be touched or tackled, like so many plays they encounter on Saturday afternoons.

Like the inspirational messages Lee sends Lorenzo before Tulane games.

Lee to Lorenzo: I know you getting ready but I’m on my way get ya mind right and put on a show out there today do it for yourself and us you deserve do the unexpected be great be special love you #DossBrothers

Lorenzo to Lee: I love you 2 #Dossbrothers

“We talk on the phone, and we text almost every day,” Lee said. “We talk four or five times a week, even if it’s not about anything big.”

Support gravitates in both directions.

Lorenzo to Lee: Go out there today and leave everything on the field just let the game come to like you been doing if they not getting you the ball early don’t show you mad on the field just make a play when it do

They often are forced to follow each other’s achievements, be a part of their football dreams, via the Internet, recorded game film and in-person memories from other family members in attendance.

Lee Doss, one of the Southwestern Athletic Conference’s top receivers, leads Southern’s offense entering the 40th Annual Bayou Classic. Saturday’s kickoff against Grambling at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome is 1:30 p.m. Also on Saturday, Lorenzo Doss, a young cornerback whose seven interceptions and two defensive scores have sparked Tulane’s first bowl-eligible season since 2002, will try to help the Green Wave earn a share of Conference USA’s West Division championship with a win at Rice.

Thanks to his big brother.

“I really got into (football) because of my brother; he was just so good,” Lorenzo said, thinking back to their Pee Wee beginnings in the sport at Goretti Park in Eastern New Orleans.

During their St. Augustine days, their parents were tickled when Lee would leave games late to be replaced by Lorenzo.

At the time, they both played receiver, giving the younger Doss an in-family example of how to play, how to practice, how to find balance with schoolwork.

Perhaps one of the most challenging moments occurred when Lee Jr. returned after graduation to watch Lorenzo play. That’s when Lee, a former walk-on at Southern, realized Lorenzo would enjoy an easier road to a football scholarship, one that would not include Southern, as the Jaguars coaching staff had hoped.

Recently, Lee told Lorenzo he was no longer his younger brother. No, he was now just his brother, perhaps the greatest compliment an older brother can even give his male sibling — to recognize and celebrate his triumphs as an equal.

“He’s the person I’ve been looking up to,” Lorenzo said. “I don’t have a favorite player in the NFL to look up to. He’s my favorite player.”

Lee enters the Bayou Classic with 62 catches for 930 yards and seven touchdowns.

During breaks in school, they work out together at Tulane, one offering insight about what receivers want to do to get off the line of scrimmage, the other countering with knowledge which explains a defensive back’s agenda.

“I thought, growing up, they were going to be competitive against each other,” said their father, Lee Sr. “They actually do things together. It’s not where we’re in a household where, ‘You’re better than me.’ It’s not like that. They’ll come home (from campus) and talk about their games, and they try to make each other better. That’s what I like. It’s that brotherly love.”

Saturdays are family day for the brothers and their family, even if they can’t be at the same place. Skip the movies or reality television. This is live, up close and college football.

Parents Lee Sr. and Wanda Doss join daughter, Tiffany — a 12th grader who plays volleyball, basketball and softball at St. Mary’s Academy — at college stadiums from Memphis to Atlanta, Houston to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. They travel to most of the boys’ home and away games, although some travel plans have been complicated, since they can’t simultaneously watch Lee and Lorenzo’s games in different cities.

“I combine the schedules to figure out our trips,” Wanda Doss said. “We’ll do turnaround trips if we have to.”

“Most of the time, they play at different times, so it’s not that hard,” Tiffany Doss added.

Respectfully, the designated driver might disagree.

“That’s a workload,” Lee Sr. said of their road efforts.

Southern was off last week, giving Lee Jr. a chance to watch Lorenzo from the stands. From there, he saw Lorenzo intercept his seventh pass of the season during a 45-3 rout of UTEP. Every big play inches him closer to a professional career, which is where Lee hopes to find himself this spring.

He wants Lorenzo to follow, once again.