What can you say about #11 in orange?
Well, quite a bit.
As a senior in high school in 2012, Josh Dobbs made a name for himself. Hailing from Alpharetta, GA, Dobbs was a four-star prospect and the No. 10 pro-style quarterback (yes, that’s correct) in the country according to 247 Sports.
Even though Dobbs was a highly recruited prospect, he was considering schools based on academic programs. His offer list included schools like Northwestern, Vanderbilt, Princeton, Penn, Harvard, etc. You get and already know the point. He’s kind of a smart guy, or at least that’s what some people think.
Dobbs originally committed to Arizona State for their aerospace engineering program. However, Dobbs visited Tennessee about a week before National Signing Day and everything changed from there.
Tennessee had just come off its second consecutive 5-7 season under Derek Dooley. Dooley was fired following an embarrassing 41-18 loss to Vanderbilt. The program was a mess.
Fans were in a state of disappointment and frustration, yet also felt apathetic. Dooley’s firing brought about some hope, though. The Jon Gruden rumors (Grumors) started up then they died. At some point, Mike Gundy and Charlie Strong “accepted” the job then turned it down to remain at their respective schools.
Then on December 7, 2012, Butch Jones was hired from Cincinnati.
Out of nowhere, Jones comes along and immediately promises hope and success. After going through the team’s worst five year period in history (Fulmer, Kiffin, Dooley), fans were wanting to clinch on to any pulse the program once had.
When Dobbs flipped his commitment to Tennessee, Butch claimed he was the signing day surprise and it looks he was right.
Stating facts here, the program has climbed out of that dark hole that Kiffin and Dooley created, and no player has been as highly acclaimed in helping that ascension than Josh Dobbs.
Heading into the 2013 season, Dobbs was behind Justin Worley, Nathan Peterman (Pitt), and Riley Ferguson (Memphis). Ferguson was regarded as a better overall quarterback and Dobbs was basically an after thought to many fans. However, things played out and Dobbs made his collegiate debut as a freshman at Alabama, which is probably the worst debut any freshman could make. Dobbs only went 5-of-12 for 75 yards, but he impressed with his mobility and arm strength. He also managed to lead Tennessee down for a touchdown, and according to UTSports.com, it was the only touchdown Alabama had given up at home to any team in 2013. Dobbs finished the year 2-2 as the starter
In 2014, Worley was a senior and was once again named the starter, even though fans saw how much of a better fit Dobbs was for the system. Also, once again, Dobbs entered the scene in the Alabama game, except this time, stole the show even in a loss. He went 19-of-32 for 192 yards, two touchdowns, and ran for 75 which was the most by a UT quarterback since Tee Martin ran for 81 against Syracuse in 1998. After that, the Dobbs hype began and he would become the starter to finish out his remaining two and a half years.
Taking a look back, overall, Dobbs has been an outstanding player for Tennessee. This past year, he helped break the 11-year streak against Florida. He guided Tennessee to three straight bowl wins. There were games where he looked unstoppable (’14 South Carolina, ’15 Georgia, ’16 Florida). How many times was he able to take a broken play and turn it into a huge gain or even a score? He gave us all the infamous “Dobbs Nail Boot” this past year at Georgia. Needless to say, Dobbs carried the team on his back several times throughout his career.
However, there were also times Dobbs looked awful. There were (and still are) questions about his throwing abilities. He commonly had issues with the deep ball. He would throw over the middle of coverage. He laid some ducks on easy out routes and curls. His last second interception cost the Texas A&M game.
So, what’s next for Dobbs?
Upon graduating, he has worked out for NFL scouts and is projected to be a draft pick. Mel Kiper recently said he believes he could be a second round pick and has more value than Alvin Kamara. He looked great at Pro Day and increased his draft stock.
While at UT, Dobbs became a household name. He won numerous awards from the SEC and nationally as a quarterback. Even more impressive is the fact he kept up pretty much a perfect GPA while majoring in aerospace engineering. He wants to help build space vehicles and other aero vehicles. He’s been a great role model for kids and families in need. As cliche as it sounds, he’s been the perfect student athlete.
There’s no question about it: Josh Dobbs will be a player Tennessee fans will remember for a lifetime. He gave us awesome memories, and gave us some bad ones. He’s been a large staple in building the success of the program that can hopefully elevate to new heights very soon. Fans loved him, fans criticized him. However, I think there will be a time in this upcoming season, if not several times, that Vol Nation will really miss having a player like him out on the field.
No. 11 leaves Tennessee with an impressionable legacy. Whether you liked him or not, I think he gave his all for Tennessee and that’s all that matters. Celebrate the young man and wish him well.
Goodbye and good luck to the Rocketman.