J.K. Dobbins one of top recruits for class of 2017

La Grange's J.K. Dobbins

LA GRANGE (KXAN) — On Sunday, March 6th J.K. Dobbins announced that he has committed to  the Ohio State University Buckeyes.

With most school’s 2016 class already signed, sealed and delivered after Wednesday’s national signing day, focus is now shifting to the class of 2017.

Except for college coaches, who have been looking at next year’s recruits for at least three years, already. They’ve been keeping an especially close eye on La Grange’s J.K. Dobbins, who’s been getting letters from colleges since his freshman season.

“It’s pretty fun,” Dobbins said. “It’s something different. It’s surreal, it’s surreal. It’s like a dream come true.”

Dobbins already has offers from the likes of Texas, Texas A&M and Oklahoma, and teams as far away as Stanford, Duke and Notre Dame. But for as long as he’s been recruited, he’s been turning heads on the football field for even longer.

“I still remember a text [his] seventh grade year,” La Grange head coach Matt Kates recalled. “It might’ve been his first game ever in seventh grade. I got a text about midway through the first quarter that said two carries, 180 yards and two touchdowns. He’s always been special.”

“Whenever I got to middle school and stuff, that’s when I really knew that’s what I wanted to do, so I’ve always worked hard for it,” Dobbins said. “I just wanna be the best that I can be.”

According to Kates, Dobbins runs a 4.3 40 and has a 42-inch vertical.

“He’s got all those measurables that college guys want, but once they turn on the film, you really want him just because he’s a football player over everything else,” Kates said. “He’s one of those kids, I’d be underselling if I said it’s a once-in-a-career. Just an excellent kid that wants to be great.

“It’s the work ethic,” Kates added. “It’s the team above everything else. The grades take care of themselves, and he takes pride in that last name. He takes pride in representing his mom and his family. That’s why people love him.”

He also takes pride in representing his father, Lawrence, who unexpectedly passed away when Dobbins was just 15. Lawrence also played football for the Leopards, leading them to the state semifinals in 1997. And just like his father did, J.K. took La Grange to the semis two years ago.

“He’s a very big factor because I know he’d be proud if he was here,” Dobbins said. “I always think about him whenever I do something great.”

With just one more year left at La Grange, Dobbins hopes he can do his dad one better by leading the Leopards to a state championship.

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