2017-07-14 / Business

Columbia native’s vision now on players’ hands

By Cathy Cobbs


Emmanuel Arceneaux, wide receiver for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) believes in the Phenom Elite glove. He played college football at Alcorn State University. Emmanuel Arceneaux, wide receiver for the BC Lions of the Canadian Football League (CFL) believes in the Phenom Elite glove. He played college football at Alcorn State University. “These gloves are so sticky, they should be illegal” –former NFL All-Star Randy Moss.

But they aren’t, and Columbia resident Nathan Dorton is the man who can take credit for that.

Dorton, a former collegiate football player who is now in his fourth year as part of the coaching staff at Palmetto Prep Academy, envisioned a custom glove had the “stick- ability” that college and professional athletes desired.

That is how Phenom Elite became a reality. Using just $65, he made a prototype glove that was more effective, as well as adhered to the standards dictated by high schools, NCAA schools, and the National Football League.

About six months into the process, Dorton partnered with Josh Ortegon, a sports performance coach and friend, to take the product to market. The gloves have grown in popularity on all levels. Local schools like Blythewood, River Bluff, and Lexington use the gloves, and the gloves are also being worn by players with the University of Southern Miss, North Carolina Central University, Alcorn State, and Elmhurst College.


Nathan Dorton Nathan Dorton Right now there is a 10-glove minimum for custom orders, and a limited number of gloves are available through Todd & Moore and other retailers, but Dorton is working to develop a higher profile for the gloves and related gear.

“We have dreams to grow the company and possibly be bought out by a big company like Nike, Adidas, or Under Armour,” Dorton said.

The growth has also reached the professional levels. Jalen Reeves-Maybin, who was drafted by the Detroit Lions out of Tennessee, and fellow teammate Brandon Copeland, wear the gloves. Canadian Football League’s Emmanuel Arceneaux is also a believer. And the aforementioned Moss has now endorsed the product and is partnering to take it to retail stores nationwide.

“Phenom Elite is honestly the best uniform company I’ve worked with,” said Adam Barnhardt Former GM of the Bemidji Axemen, an Indoor Football League. “They provide uniforms that rival the likes of Nike, Adidas, and Under Armour, but you get everything completely custom from the ground up. The customer service is outstanding,”

Meanwhile, Dorton continues to work as an offensive coach and recruiter with his father, Wes Dorton, who has been coaching Palmetto Prep since its inception in 2011. The team in 2017 reached an important milestone when one of its former players, Jac’Que Polite, was drafted by the Buffalo Bills.

For more information about Phenom Elite, visit phenomelite.com.

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