Running back J.K. Dobbins may have missed his entire senior season at La Grange, Texas, due to an ankle injury, but he's been on a mission since he arrived at Ohio State in the spring to show that he was truly one of the top prospects in the Class of 2017.
With that said, Dobbins — who is currently fighting for the backup spot behind starter Mike Weber — has officially become a Buckeye, as the program announced on Friday he was the first true freshman from his recruiting class to have his black stripe removed. JUCO transfer Kendall Sheffield, a redshirt sophomore, lost his in the spring.
Like his classmates, Dobbins began his collegiate career with a black stripe on his helmet to signify his status a newcomer. Though he's already on the team, having your black stripe removed has become a rite of passage for the players, and its removal means the staff feels you're worthy of suiting up for the Scarlet and Gray on Saturdays.
Ohio State running backs coach Tony Alford praised Dobbins this spring, noting how few mistakes he makes with the ball in his hands or in blocking situations.
“One of the things that’s impressed me the most about him — we knew he could run fast and jump — but what he’s done is the pass [protection] where he’ll stick his face in there," Alford said. "For running backs that’s probably the hardest skill to perfect, pass protection. Is he where we need him to be? Absolutely not. None of them are. But he jumped head-first into the water [and] he’s willing to throw his body in there and go."
Head coach Urban Meyer followed that up with the following assessment at Big Ten Media Days last month.
"He's going to play," Meyer said bluntly.
|DE'VAN BOGARD AND NOAH SPENCE||DB/DE||AUG. 9, 2012|
|JOE RAMSTETTER||WR||AUG. 9, 2013|
|CURTIS SAMUEL AND RAEKWON MCMILLAN||RB/LB||AUG. 10, 2014|
|ISAIAH PRINCE||OL||AUG. 13, 2015|
|AUSTIN MACK||WR||MARCH 31, 2016|