From sacks to social work, former NFL star Santana Dotson is still making an impact
Santana Dotson, BA ’91, was a true difference maker on the defensive line for Coach Grant Teaff’s Baylor football teams in the early 1990s (and then for a decade in the NFL with Tampa Bay and Green Bay). The 6-foot-5 defensive tackle from Houston earned first-team All-America honors at Baylor and went on to be part of one of the most dominant defensive lines in NFL history, winning a Super Bowl ring with the Packers in 1996.
Two decades later, he’s still a difference-maker, albeit in a different game since retiring from the gridiron. Growing up, Dotson attended Houston’s Yates High School, a place where he recognized a paradox. The school sits directly between two universities, Houston and Texas Southern, yet that physical proximity was for years as close as many Yates students ever got to college. Three years into his NFL career, he decided to do something about it. His charity, the Santana Dotson Foundation, is changing the future for many students, both at Yates and throughout the Houston area, by awarding scholarships to deserving students each year and assisting other organizations in providing academic tutoring, SAT and ACT preparation, and guidance to high school and college students.
Dotson has also poured himself into social work and community service, a path the Baylor communications major and 10-year NFL veteran might not have envisioned. His commitment to social work extends from his foundation all the way back to Waco, where he serves on the board of advocates for Baylor’s Diana R. Garland School of Social Work. His service comes at a fitting time for the School of Social Work, as Baylor social work students can now take classes in Houston, serving the population in Dotson’s hometown as they pursue master’s degrees in the heart of the state’s largest city.
More than 20 years after his stellar Baylor career ended, Dotson remains in the program’s all-time top 10 in career sacks and tackles for loss, and he is one of just 18 first-team All-Americans in program history. But perhaps his most meaningful stats now are the 140 scholarships the Santana Dotson Foundation has awarded over the last two decades.
Sic ’em, Santana Dotson!