J.K. Dobbins started to see Notre Dame moving into the picture two weeks ago.
Running backs coach Autry Denson accelerated that process on National Signing Day by connecting again with Dobbins, a four-star junior running back from La Grange, Texas, this time with a scholarship offer.
“I was excited because Notre Dame is a prestigious school,” Dobbins said. “They’re tradition rich. They’ve won a lot of football games. And not only that, they’re top notch in academics.”
Notre Dame joins Arizona State, Arkansas, Cal, Duke, Houston, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Stanford, TCU, Texas, Texas A&M, Wisconsin and a few others in having offered.
Dobbins has also been hearing from Baylor, Florida State and Nebraska.
Denson has been talking with the 5-foot-9, 184-pound prospect not only about what the Irish bring to the table but how Dobbins can add to the program. Dobbins has been picking up a good vibe from his potential position coach so far.
“It's a lot of things,” Dobbins said. “Coach Denson is the guy that’s been recruiting me mainly. He told me he likes me as a person, not only as a player and all this stuff. He sees great things in me. He’s great. I feel like he’s genuine. He’s a great coach. That’s what I feel.
Right now Dobbins considers himself most familiar with Oklahoma, TCU, Texas and Texas A&M. He’s visited all those programs at least once. But he’s kept tabs on Notre Dame a little bit over the years.
“I’ve been able to watch them,” Dobbins said. “I don’t know too much about them but I see that they’re a winning program, a great program. I see that they’re very religious, of course. They’re a private school and stuff. That’s pretty much it.”
Dobbins considers himself “wide open” at this point in the process with signing day for the senior class just having passed. He has kept an eye on how Charlie Strong is rebuilding Texas, which is about an hour from La Grange.
Needless to say, Dobbins took note of how the Longhorns closed the Class of 2016.
“I see great things,” he said. “Coach Strong, I love coach Strong. He’s a great coach. He’s very genuine. I don’t think he’s the type of guy that would tell you something then not do it. That’s great. That class they just signed, that was crazy. They came out of nowhere with that one.”
Dobbins, however, isn’t necessarily married to the idea of staying in-state for college ball. Notre Dame and Stanford are both on the visit hit list for this offseason.
Getting a decision done somewhat early is a priority for Dobbins as he works toward early enrollment. Dobbins has already started working ahead in school to make that happen.
“I’ve been thinking about it for a long time and I just realized I wanted to it 100 percent,” he said.