Oct. 14, 2012
By JACK BOGACZYK
HUNTINGTON – It’s 2012 A.D. – that’s Aaron Dobson, not Anno Domini – and Marshall’s senior star wide receiver knows his years with the Thundering Herd could be down to six games.
“It’s crazy, just crazy to know that I’m almost done with college football,” Dobson said on the Herd’s (2-4, 1-1 Conference USA) bye week. “I want those seventh (C-USA Championship) and eighth (bowl) games bad.
“We can get there. We’ve got to get there. But just to know I’m almost done … It’s hard to believe how fast it’s gone since 2009. Me being from here (Dunbar, and a South Charleston High graduate) adds to it. It’s kind of sad to be about done, bittersweet.”
As the Herd heads to Southern Mississippi (0-6, 0-2) for a Saturday night kickoff, Dobson has 150 receptions for 2,202 yards in his Marshall career. The 6-foot-3 senior is tied for 10th – with teammate Antavious Wilson – in MU career catches, and ranks ninth in receiving yards.
His 23 receiving touchdowns rank in a four-way tie for fifth, with Troy Brown one ahead and Mike Barber also within Dobson’s long reach, at 26.
Recently, Chicago Tribune pro football writer Dan Pompei produced an updated list on NationalFootballPost.com of senior wideouts who are the top 2013 NFL Draft prospects. Dobson was picked No. 1, in front of Aaron Mellette of Elon and West Virginia’s Tavon Austin.
The website’s “scouting report” on the Herd star?
“Dobson is gifted physically but still developing. He has not reached is full potential. He could rise in the postseason, and he could be a better NFL player than college player. He has very good hands but does not have explosive speed.”
However, his 40-yard time is third-fastest among the Herd (behind running backs Kevin Grooms
and Steward Butler
, and his 10-yard (explosive) time has improved significantly in the last two years.
Dobson smiles when the subject turns to how his career might progress once his Marshall career is over, “but I try not to get so into it, that it’s like, ‘Hey, don’t psych yourself out. Stay humble, work hard, do what got you here. Keep moving, keep improving.’
“Sounds pretty dull, doesn’t it.”
With 42 receptions – second among the Herd to sophomore inside receiver Tommy Shuler’s 58 -- Dobson is within seven of his season-high for catches, established in 13 games in 2011. He’s 185 yards shy of his 2011 number, with 483 yards.
“We can pour it on,” Dobson said when asked what numbers he could reach by season’s end. “We haven’t hit a lot of deep balls. We were better last game (a loss to Tulsa), but we’re still not hitting them like we want or we can.
“Then our yards go way up, and when you add in what Tommy and Tay are doing, we open up the run game, make our offensive numbers keep going up. We’re good where we are now (with a top-5 total offense nationally, 558 yards per game), but we still can be better, always want to get better.”
Dobson knows – and appreciates – that he will forever be remembered at Marshall for what’s simply become known as “The Catch,” his one-armed, backhand, leaping, twisting grab against East Carolina last season.
What No. 3 wants, however, is to go out with two postseason games – and three bowl victories -- in his four years.
“This bye week came at a good time for us,” Dobson said. “Right in the middle (of the schedule), after we didn’t get the first six games the way we wanted or we could have. It’s been a chance to get that out of our system, and now we have a whole week to prepare for Southern Miss.
“The confidence is still there. We’re 2-4, but we can still win the (C-USA East) division. We play all of those teams yet. We still have a shot to win the conference championship, but we’ve got to win out. Everyone we play now, we can win. We’ve just got to re-grasp that confidence.
“This past week allowed us to tighten things up, get everybody healthy, get our heads back on right, get all soreness out of rest of our bodies … We can’t chill, we’ve got no room to chill.
“We’ve got to win at least four of our last six (to become bowl-eligible), but that’s not good enough in our minds. We know what we have to do, and we’ve got to go do it. You can’t have some of the mistakes we’ve had a beat a good team.”
So, Dobson prepares for the rest of his college career, and, as he calls it, “what comes next.” The letters “NFL,” he doesn’t use.
“It’s exciting to be looking forward to next level, and I am, but we have a lot of business to finish here,” Dobson said. “I’m just trying to win, help my team first, prepare myself.
“I want to finish strong here and put myself in a situation where I can be next year, keep my head on right, stay focused, and make sure to take advantage of opportunity I have.
“I’m not going to settle. We just can’t settle.”