When the term "playmaker" is used to describe a Utah football player, Ute fans are likely to think of former Ute great, and current San Diego Charger, Eric Weddle. From 2003 to 2006, Weddle was like a Swiss army knife for the Utes, as he played all three cornerback positions, safety, punt returner, kick returner, holder and also quarterback. He was an all-time great, and it would be near impossible for any player to replicate the kind of impact he had on the Utah program for 4 years. I don't want to go around comparing future players to Weddle, as that would just put an unfair amount of expectations on their shoulders, but, if there was a "Swiss army knife" in the 2014 recruiting class, it is without a doubt Travonne Hobbs. Hailing from O'Perry Walker High School in New Orleans, Louisiana, Hobbs played cornerback, safety, wide receiver, punt returner, kick returner and even some quarterback for his team. Despite his great athletic ability, Hobbs was a relative unknown to fans the followed recruiting, but that didn't stop colleges from knowing who he was. Hobbs committed to Utah in December of 2013, choosing the Utes over offers from the likes of Arizona, Arizona State, Mississippi State, West Virginia, Arkansas, Baylor and many other schools. Ute fans didn't know who "Boobie" Hobbs was until he committed to the Utes, but they better get used to hearing his name, as he's a player that could make a major impact at Utah. As Hobbs says himself, quoting the iconic movie Friday Night Lights, "If you wanna win, put Boobie in."
When I watch Hobbs on film I don't see any one thing that he does exceptionally, but what I do see is a "jack of all trades" if you will. Someone that is just very solid at everything he does on the football field. He's very good up close to the line of scrimmage, but he's also good in space playing zone coverage. He also has very good ball skills. He's able to find the ball in the air and go and high point it, and once he has the ball in his hands, he's a threat to take it the distance every time. The biggest thing that Hobbs will have to work on is putting on muscle and learning the defense. He has the natural athletic ability and football IQ to contribute right away, but he'll have to prepare his body and mind in order to compete at a high level in the PAC 12. What the Utes are getting in Hobbs is exactly what I said at the beginning of the article, a playmaker, and he's someone that should be able to make an impact, small or large, as a true freshman.
Prediction: While I do expect Hobbs to play as a true freshman, it will likely be as a special teams player, with the occasional snap at nickel back. The Utes have four solid players that will play ahead of Hobbs for the 2014 season, so expect to see Hobbs on the kickoff and punt coverage teams, and possibly returning punts or kickoffs. With two of those four graduating after the 2014 season, Hobbs' time to shine will be in 2015 as a sophomore.
Incoming Player Projections: Travonne Hobbs
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