With the departure of Curtis Samuel, Ohio State is looking to shore up its backfield in 2017. One of the earliest commits to the 2017 recruiting class, J.K. Dobbins, was an early-enrollee last month in an effort to get himself ready to compete for carries and catches in the fall. An all-purpose back projected to H-back at OSU, the La Grange, TX native is the second rated player at his position nationally and the 43rd player overall according to 247Sports Composite. Dobbins committed to continuing his academic and athletic careers in Columbus in March of 2016 and has been an outspoken Buckeye ever since.
Dobbins broke his right fibula on the first play of his senior season in high school, and while he was selected for the honor, he didn’t play in the Army All-American Game either. However, the 5’10, 200-pounder is fully participating in off-season activities on campus. In his junior season, Dobbins amassed 2,291 rushing yards on 232 carries.
Considered an ideal back for the spread offense, Dobbins possesses a low center of gravity, a quick burst, and exceptional elusiveness. He is also an above-average pass-catcher out of the backfield. His unique, explosive skill set, coupled with enrolling early, could have Dobbins in line for early playing time at the H-back position.
Before committing to the Buckeyes, Dobbins considered offers from most of the schools in his home state, including Texas, Texas A&M, TCU, Baylor, and Houston. He also received offers from Oklahoma, Notre Dame, Florida State, Stanford, Penn State, Wisconsin, and others.
Dobbins selected Ohio State because of his plans to win a few national championships, and we’d like to think that’s a great choice:
Due to his height (5’9 ½”) most believed J.K. Dobbins would come to Ohio State and play the H-back role. However, at 200 pounds, he plays stronger than his listed weight and does not possess the similar quickness that Curtis Samuel and Demario McCall have to succeed in the H-back role at Ohio State. With the bruising Mike Weber and Antonio Williams at halfback, Dobbins is a smaller, quicker back who can succeed at the halfback position, rather than the H-back position.
Dobbins possesses all of the attributes of a solid halfback in Urban Meyer’s offense. He has great vision, a strong base with very good balance and has the power to gain tough yardage between the tackles. Now, he may not have the breakaway speed or elite quickness like Samuel or McCall, but he does have more speed and quickness than Weber and Williams.
With Weber and McCall all but Sharpied into starting roles, look for Dobbins to leapfrog Williams due to a change in style from the hammers that are Weber and Williams. Early enrollees have a step up on the average freshman, which will really give Dobbins a chance to carry the ball in 2017. — Christopher Jason