You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to myStatesman.com

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.

GREAT REASONS TO SUBSCRIBE TODAY!

  • IN-DEPTH REPORTING
  • INTERACTIVE STORYTELLING
  • NEW TOPICS & COVERAGE
  • ePAPER
X

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and bonus content- exclusively for subscribers. Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks

X

Welcome to myStatesman.com

This subscriber-only site gives you exclusive access to breaking news, in-depth coverage, exclusive interactives and bonus content.

You can read free articles of your choice a month that are only available on myStatesman.com.

Sidelined Dobbins cheers his La Grange teammates, looks to Ohio State


La Grange senior JK Dobbins was still in severe pain in early September when he received a phone call from Ohio State University.

Urban Meyer was on the line.

The coach of the second-ranked Buckeyes was checking up on one of the most-valued members of his team’s next recruiting class. Dobbins, ranked by 247 Sports as the nation’s No. 1 all-purpose running back in the Class of 2017, plans to enroll at Ohio State in January.

Ezekiel Elliott made his mark with the Buckeyes before being drafted by the Dallas Cowboys. One coach has little doubt that Dobbins will join Elliott in the NFL someday.

“Coach Meyer said I was better than Zeke when he was my age,” Dobbins said.

The conversation between Meyer and his future player came roughly a week after Dobbins broke his right fibula and suffered a severely sprained ankle on the first play of La Grange’s season opener on Aug. 26 at Liberty Hill. The fracture required surgery, derailing a possible record-setting year for the 5-foot-10-inch, 200-pound Dobbins. It also sent shock waves through La Grange’s football team, which thrived in 2015 when Dobbins rushed for 2,740 yards and 35 touchdowns in 11 games.

“There was a grieving process (for Dobbins) after the injury happened,” said La Grange coach Matt Kates. “He worked his tail off in the summer.”

Without their five-star standout in the backfield, La Grange looked confused in September, losing three of its first four games. As November nears, Dobbins has learned to cope with his injury, and the Leopards are begining to play better, winning their first two games within District 10-4A, Division II.

Dobbins stays close to his teammates, encouraging them from the sidelines during every game.

“Everything happens for a reason,” he said. “Maybe God was trying to prevent something even worse from happening to me.”

No surprise, La Grange (3-3) remains a work in progress on offense, averaging 19.3 points a game, down from last year’s figure of 34.6. Sophomore Jericho Haardt has done an admirable job as Dobbins’ replacement, rushing for 615 yards and four touchdowns, while quarterback Colter Siptak has run for 373 yards with three TDs.

A senior-laden defense led by linemen John Villasana and Cordale Ellison, linebacker Dalton Ward and safety Daven McKenzie has limited opponents to 19 points a game, down from last year’s mark of 23.3.

Dobbins could have shattered the Austin-area record for career rushing this season. He needed 2,010 yards yards to break Brock Fitzhenry’s mark of 7,158 yards. Instead, Dobbins now spends much of his time rehabilitating his right leg, preparing to join his Ohio State teammates in two months.

His goals for his freshman season?

“I’m going to do things that no one is expecting,” said Dobbins, who recently had his cast removed.

Dobbins said he has always been physically gifted, explaining that he began walking at nine months. He said he carries a 3.5 grade-point average at La Grange, adding that his mother, Mya, keeps him grounded.

“When I’d come home after scoring five touchdowns, she’d tell me my room was dirty,” he said.

At Ohio State, Dobbins likely will be compared to Elliott, who rushed for 262 yards and two touchdowns as Carlos Hyde’s backup during his freshman season. A starter his final two years with the Buckeyes, Elliott finished his college career with 3,981 yards rushing — third on OSU’s career list — and 43 touchdowns.

So does Dobbins expect to become the next Ezekiel Elliott?

“No,” he said without hesitation. “I’m going to be the first JK Dobbins.”


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in High School Sports

Texas RB D’Onta Foreman captures the Doak Walker Award
ATLANTA — D’Onta Foreman’s past few weeks have been hectic enough. “I’ve been trying to soak in all the award stuff and move out of my dorm and get ready to start my future,” the former Texas running back said.
Ray Guy Award finalist Michael Dickson energized about the future
ATLANTA — A strong case could be made that Michael Dickson is the only sure thing on the Texas roster.
Westlake’s Sam Ehlinger prepares for competition and classes at Texas
The next time that football fans see Sam Ehlinger, he’ll be a Longhorn. The future for Ehlinger was recognized in a signing ceremony on Westlake’s campus Thursday.
Bohls: Look past her ribbon and nails — Texas’ Ebony Nwanebu is on-court tough
Almost everything about Ebony Nwanebu disguises who the Texas women’s volleyball player actually is.
Four Bobcats given honorable mention to All-Sun Belt team
Four Bobcats given honorable mention to All-Sun Belt team
More Stories