When Butch Jones took over at the University of Tennessee and was met with the news that Tyler Bray was leaving early for the NFL, the new head coach zeroed in on a couple of committed quarterbacks to bring to Knoxville.
The Vols got excellent news from one of those players Wednesday when Alpharetta (Ga.) High School quarterback Joshua Dobbs departed from his long-standing commitment from Arizona State and flipped to UT to play for coach Butch Jones and offensive coordinator Mike Bajakian. The other player Jones targeted was Florida State commit John Franklin III, but Dobbs' pledge makes the late pursuit of those two worth the hours.
Though the Dobbs news will likely be overshadowed by the message board frenzy over five-star safety Vonn Bell and the fact that the Vols already have one quarterback commitment in Riley Ferguson, it doesn't dissipate the magnitude of this news. The nation's No. 8-rated pro-style quarterback and the 107th-ranked overall player in the 247 rankings is blessed with great footwork, arm strength and intelligence.
Several SEC programs tried to flip Dobbs -- who also had offers from many Ivy League schools -- late, but Tennessee is the only one he ultimately listened to. Even when Dobbs received offers from Clemson and Stanford late in the cycle, he kept quiet, only considering the Vols along with Arizona State. Ultimately, the potential to play in the SEC coupled with the opportunity to stay much closer to home and having his specific engineering major made the lure to Knoxville too much for the Sun Devils to overcome.
Dobbs is a 6-foot-3, 190-pound dropback signal-caller who is rated as a pro-style passer, but that doesn't mean he can't run, too. He also possesses 4.7 speed, and therefore he has the ability to break upfield and get yards when the pocket collapses. Dobbs was named offensive player of the year in his region, and as a junior was 294-of-392 for 3,113 yards and 31 combined touchdowns. Dobbs also excels on the diamond and is a draftable prospect in baseball as well. He's known for his leadership ability, pocket awareness, quick release, accuracy and footwork.
Though he's incredibly thin, Dobbs likely won't be needed in Knoxville right away, so he'll have time to get in the weight room. With Bray's departure, quarterback was expected to be a concern heading into next season, but Jones has rectified that with this signee. The infusion of Dobbs and Riley Ferguson into a depth chart that already includes junior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman gives UT a healthy number of options to see who is Bray's heir apparent. Also, don't sleep on invited walk-on Charlie High, who will be given the opportunity to compete as well.
Welcome to Big Orange Country, Mr. Dobbs!