Sports Journalism Blog

By Andrew Thomison | @Andrew_Thomison

Sports Capital Journalism Program

You may already know about Ohio State running back J.K. Dobbins’ accomplishments on the field. During the 2019 season, the soon-to-be National Football League running back ran for 2,003 yards, an average of 6.7 per carry, to break the school record of College Football Hall of Fame member Eddie George, who gained 1,927 in his 1995 Heisman Trophy season.

In his three college seasons, Dobbins rushed for 4,459 yards and gained a total of 5,104, an average of 6.4 yards for every play from scrimmage. Wednesday morning, Dobbins gave reporters a closer look into some of things that helped motivate him.

One of those things was the death of his father at the age of 15. Lawrence Dobbins died as the result of a stroke at the age of 33.

“I definitely come from a humble beginning,” Dobbins said. “With my father not being here, losing him at 15, it was definitely tough for me. Being here is a blessing.”

What was inspiring about Dobbins was how he described his drive to be even better, to improve his craft not only to better himself, but to better his team.

“I always feel like I have something to prove,” he said. “Even when I ran for 2,000 yards, I felt like I could improve a little more.”

Dobbins also spoke highly of his teammates who became Big Ten champions and reached a semifinal game against Clemson in the College Football Playoff. “It was just hard to leave my brothers at Ohio State,” he said. “I loved them a lot, so it was definitely a tough decision. I felt like it was time for me to take my legacy to the next level. That’s one of the reasons why I left, but not the main reason.”

While Dobbins may not have had time to reflect upon his college legacy, his overall production and drive for success — which ultimately was a key component in helping to catapult him towards his NFL dream – will live on at Ohio State for years to come.

“My legacy at Ohio State – I haven’t really had time to sit down and think about it,” he said. “But a lot of guys would mention how I ran for more yards than Ezekiel Elliott and Eddie George all in one season. It’s pretty surreal to me.”