Dorson Boyce has the memory of an astute bookkeeper.
He stores numbers and dates and can rattle them off, and the significance they hold, as if they happened yesterday.
That was the day the 21-year-old Boyce flew from California to make the University of Washington football team his new home. He was a tight end from Allan Hancock College, a two-year program in Santa Maria.
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“That was a big day, coming to a big-time school,” he said. “My tight ends coach (Brent Miller) picked me up at the airport.”
It’s the Huskies third game of the season. They host No. 3 Southern California in the Pacific-10 Conference opener for both teams.
And since the Huskies’ other two tight ends – sophomores Kavario Middleton (LSU) and Chris Izbicki (Idaho) – caught their first career touchdowns in the previous two weeks, he hopes this week it’s his turn to reach the end zone.
“We’ve got to find a way to get him more involved in what we’re doing,” UW offensive coordinator Doug Nussmeier said.
This is a date Boyce hasn’t forgotten – or ever will.
“It changed my life,” he said.
It was back in 2007 in Santa Maria. Boyce and a few friends, including roommate Tau Sudlow, whom he met while the two attended high school in New York, were at a private house party.
Sudlow, an offensive lineman at Allan Hancock, was a few weeks away from graduating and moving on to play at Tennessee State.
The party was held in his honor as he finished the paperwork for his transfer that day.
“He was a loving guy, cool with everyone else on the team – and everyone,” Boyce said.
Boyce said he was in the living room when he noticed that Sudlow went outside to talk on the phone. Sudlow was about to leave the party when he was approached by a man.
A confrontation ensued. Sudlow was shot once in the chest, and died.
“Basically, he was on the floor,” Boyce said. “I kneeled down, and it was kind of a graphic scene. It was the kind of scene you’d see in a movie.”
The suspect, whom police later arrested, was Tyrel Jordan, who, like Sudlow, was 20 at the time. Jordan pleaded not guilty to murder charges in late May.
Whether Jordan is found guilty or not, Boyce knows it won’t bring back his friend, who he met after his high school team knocked out Sudlow’s team in the state playoffs in New York.
“We made a pact we would go to the same JC,” Boyce said.
And they did, playing two seasons together.
“He had everything going for him. He had worked so hard since he had come into the JC, and then he died,” Boyce said. “That changed me. I just didn’t want to take anything for granted at the time. When I came here, I was overwhelmed. This is what I’d worked so hard for.”
Sometime by season’s end, Boyce said he is having a portrait of Sudlow’s face tattooed on his back.
“Like I said, it’s just made me a stronger person,” Boyce said.
The team returned to pads Tuesday. ... Safety Jason Wells (Achilles’) did not practice. … Defensive tackle Alameda Ta’amu was excused from practice for a death in the family. Coach Steve Sarkisian said the sophomore from Kent would likely be back today. … The game time for the Sept. 26 game at Stanford has been set at 6 p.m.
Todd Milles: 253-597-8442