When Butch Jones took over as head coach of the Tennessee Volunteers, he quickly noticed that the Vols were thin at the sport's most important position: quarterback.
Justin Worley and Nathan Peterman were the only two on scholarship, but Jones added one particularly interesting prospect in Josh Dobbs.
Could he be the 2013 starter?
Slow Starts for Worley and Peterman
In order for a true freshman to start on any college football team, the upperclassmen have to first show they aren't up to the task.
Both the junior Justin Worley and redshirt freshman Nathan Peterman were widely recruited and highly talented, but neither seem confident enough to take the reigns.
Just watch a few minutes of their dual press conference after the Orange and White Game. It's filled with "like Justin said..." and "I gotta agree with Nathan..." Now, I'm all for team unity and realize it's still spring, but someone needs to step up and say, "I'm the one for this job!"
Besides not yet having the necessary confidence to man an SEC offense, neither quarterback had outstanding performances in front of the 60,000-plus crowd of April 20th's scrimmage. They both completed less than 50 percent of their passes, combined for seven sacks (most of which were because they held on to the ball too long), one interception and just one touchdown.
Besides an excellent throw and catch from Peterman to Vincent Dallas, the offensive highlights were limited to impressive runs from Alden Hill.
Since neither Worley nor Peterman have convinced the coaches that the team is theirs, this summer could be a perfect time for Josh Dobbs to come in and strut his stuff.
Dobbs Different from Other Vol Signal Callers
Of all four of Tennessee's scholarshipped quarterbacks for 2013—the aforementioned three plus Riley Ferguson, who shouldn't be overlooked—Josh Dobbs is far and away the most mobile and most athletic. He was a two-sport high school star, employing his talents in both football and baseball.
As a senior at Alpharetta High School, Dobbs threw for 3,625 yards and 29 touchdowns (to just 11 interceptions), while rushing for another 419 yards and 10 touchdowns.
Upon earning an ESPN Elite 11 ranking, football analyst Tom Luginbill said, "Once [Dobbs] devotes himself to football full-time, the sky is the limit. He is extremely gifted as an athlete and with arm talent."
Dobbs' mobility makes him the best fit physically for a Butch Jones offense. In each of Jones' three seasons at Cincinnati, the quarterback amassed more than 200 yards rushing. That equates to about 15 to 20 yards per game.
That's not an outrageous total, but Worley and former quarterback Tyler Bray are both in the red for their career rushing totals. The Vols haven't had any sort of mobility at quarterback since the flash-in-the-pan Brent Schaeffer.
Dobbs offers that ability.
Besides being physically gifted, Dobbs is a brilliant young man who wants to study aerospace engineering while at the University of Tennessee. To further prove his intellect, Dobbs also received offers from Harvard, Yale and Princeton.
(I recall another Tennessee quarterback who played the position like it was science instead of an art...Just sayin'.)
Probably Worley's Job but Dobbs Not Far Behind
At this point, I still believe Justin Worley is the favorite to start. Road trips to Oregon, Florida and Alabama might be too much for a true freshman. But it may only be a matter of time before Josh Dobbs gets an opportunity to start if the Volunteers are starved for playmakers on offense.
After seeing the success of freshmen like Everett Golson and Johnny Manziel, never say never when it comes to freshmen quarterbacks.
Especially if they have NASA's aerospace program as a plan B.