Feb. 20, 2013
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – Aaron Dobson knows from where he came as a football player, and he knows where he’s going. The former Marshall star just can’t quite use his 4.30 speed in the 40 to get there these days.
Dobson heads from Florida to Indianapolis on Thursday for four days at the NFL Combine as one of the top wide receiver prospects in the 2013 NFL Draft, where he figures to be the 38th player in Herd history selected, dating back to running back Everett “Boot” Elkins, chosen in the 17th round by the Chicago Cardinals in 1939.
Dobson’s stock was underscored last month in workouts prior to the Senior Bowl. That’s a good thing, because the 6-foot-3, 203-pound MU senior from Dunbar and South Charleston High is hobbled with a pulled right hamstring.
“I competed well at the Senior Bowl and I showed what I could do and I definitely proved myself worthy,” Dobson said Wednesday from Bradenton, Fla., where he’s one of 42 draft hopefuls who have been prepping for the combine at IMG Academy. “I showed it doesn’t matter that I played for a smaller school. It showed that I can play.
“I’m definitely disappointed to go to the combine and not be able to do everything. I wanted to go there and compete and showcase myself and Marshall, showed I belong there because I know I do. I’ve tried to stay positive about it. My attitude is still good, because the goal is the same.”
Dobson said he suffered the injury about 10 days ago while he and other campers were “working on 40s, wide open.” He’s been rehabbing the injury since then, while still going through prep work for all of the off-the-field sessions at the Combine, which runs through Sunday.
“I’ve been doing all of the mental stuff, the psychological stuff, the Wonderlic test, interview preparation,” said Dobson, who finished his Marshall career with 165 receptions and 2,398 yards, ranking 11th and ninth all-time at MU in those categories. “I’m ready to go there, except the stuff on the field.
“It’s been a great experience down here. I’m with guys from Alabama, Notre Dame, Tennessee, Mizzou and it’s the same for all of us. We all have the same goal, the same dream.
“I’m here with some of the best in the nation, the biggest schools, and I’m trying to show we at Marshall can play with anybody.”
Asked if he’s getting vibes that he’ll be an early-to-middle second round pick – that seems to be the notion from most draftnicks – Dobson said he’s “hearing early second round. That’s the buzz. I try not to get caught up in it, try to stay on the right path.”
However, he said it doesn’t matter. Last year, defensive end Vinny Curry was a second-round pick (No. 59 overall) last year by the Philadelphia Eagles. Safety Omar Brown went undrafted, but ended up on a Super Bowl champion team in Baltimore. Dobson counts both as good teammates.
“Both of them made the league,” Dobson said. “Regardless of where you’re picked, you still have to work hard, prove yourself. That’s what Vinny and Omar did. That’s what I’m trying to do.”
Dobson, who tied former NFL and Herd star Troy Brown for fourth on the MU career receiving touchdowns list (24), said the right knee sprain that limited him the final four games of the 2012 season was no longer an issue.
He is represented by agent Isaac Conner, of the Allegiant Athletic Agency -- known as “a3” in the business -- in Knoxville, Tenn. Conner is a former UT-Chattanooga basketball player.
Dobson also has another adviser in John Thornton of JockBiz in Cincinnati. Thornton is a former NFL and West Virginia University defensive lineman.
If Dobson goes as high as Round 2 in the April 25-27 draft, he would be the eighth former Herd player selected that high, starting with Randy Moss in 1998. Moss, Chad Pennington and Byron Leftwich were first-rounders. Curry, Darius Watts, Paul Toviessi and Rogers Beckett were picked in Round 2.
Marshall’s Pro Day is scheduled March 13 at Edwards Stadium, and Dobson is hopeful he’ll be able to participate before scouts back on home turf.
“I fully intend to do Pro Day there,” Dobson said, “but it’s going to come down to what the doctors think I can do. “I’d like to be able to show my stuff one more time there. It would mean a lot to me.”
Dobson said he has reflected some on a Marshall career after he was only a 2-star Rivals prospect out of high school, and a player with no other major college football scholarship offers besides Marshall (Delaware, Hofstra, with basketball offers from Belmont, Northern Illinois and Northeastern).
“It’s something you can’t explain, how it all happened,” Dobson said. “Being from West Virginia, a lot of people don’t get the kind of notice they should. A lot of guys don’t make it out of there. I just tried to make the most of an opportunity.
“If you have the talent and work at it, people will notice. I’m really positive. I’m staying with the dream.”