By Michael Kinney
At 6-foot-5, 230 pounds, Andre Dollar is hard to miss. Even for a tight end he casts a pretty imposing shadow whether he is lined up along the offensive line or running routes in the secondary.
So it should not have been a surprise when Dollar said the player he most wants his game to resemble in San Francisco’s all-pro George Kittle.
“ I watched him last season and the years before. He is just a dawg on the field as a tight end,” Dollar said. “He is dominant in the run game and he’s dominant after the catch. I really look up to him. I try to imitate his game.”
Kittle, a native of Norman, is universally considered the best dual-purpose tight in the game. That is exactly what Dollar wants to be known as when his senior season at Mustang concludes.
“I’m trying to catch every ball, score as many touchdowns as I can. Don’t get tackled,” Dollar said. “I’m just working on my blocking. That is a big thing to me. People ask are you a receiving or a blocking tight end. I want to be both. I want to be an all-around type of guy. SO blocking this year is going to be a key factor for me.”
Dollar is entering his final year with the Broncos as the 11th ranked player in the state, according to Rivals.com. He is the 24th rated tight end in the nation as well.
Yet, when Dollar looks back on 2020, he knows it was tough on him and his teammates.
“It was definitely a year of adversity,” Dollar said. “It strengthened our class especially. Knowing that we could conquer anything as a unit, as a team. If we just keep our strength as a brotherhood, our trust in each other, we can overcome any obstacle in our way.”
Even as Mustang was enduring a 5-7 record and going through some tough defeats, Dollar said he and the Broncos were able to learn from those experiences, which will help them in 2021.
“Coach (Lee) Blankenship always just tells us to play the next play,” Dollar said. “So we kind of just took the season that way. Whatever happens, you learn from it, you move on. You don’t worry about mistakes or challenges you have already overcome. You just play the next play and keep pushing forward and trusting in your brothers.”
One of those brothers Dollar has trust in his quarterback Tristen Rusell. He envisions them forming a special connection this year that will allow them to put up big numbers.
“Every since I met him my sophomore year and he was a freshman, I knew who he was. I knew we would have a great connection,” Dollar said. “Ever since this offseason we have been on the field three times a week. We can read defenses, see what they are doing, make adjustments In the middle of the play. We just kind of have that connection. We’re starting to learn how to do that with the whole offense. It’s going to be a show this year.”
One of the advantages Dollar will have this year is already knowing where his future home is. With 24 offers on his plate, he committed to the University of Oregon on Sept. 15, 2020.
Dolar has 24 offers from programs around the country. They include Arizona State, Iowa State, Michigan Minnesota, Penn State and Oklahoma State. But it was the Ducks that lured him in.
“The biggest thing for me was the coaches. They made such an impact when I took the visit out there in March of 2020. They made such an impact on me,” Dollar said. “Every question that I had about what I wanted to be as a football player, they had those answers for me. And also the coaching stability. They just signed new contracts so I know they will be there for the next five or six years.”
Another important factor in Dollar’s decision was education.
“I’m a big physics guy. I like science,” Dollar said. “Oregon has a really good Physics program. I can graduate in three years with a degree in physics. That can help me after football is over.”
Dollar still has some time before his football career is over. Right now, he just wants to close out his prep career with a bang.
“I’m excited. It’s amazing. The feel of everything starting to come together,” Dollar said. “Things are falling into place. We are just going to have to buy-in. Listen to our coaches and trust. Truth the brother next to us that they are going to do our job and we are going to do our job. One of the biggest things is don’t listen to that voice in the back of the head that says you can’t do it. You just have to push that out of the way.”
Story & Photos copyright Michael Kinney Media