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Wednesday, February 6, 2013
ESPN 300 QB switches to Tennessee

By Kipp Adams

What a difference a year has made for ESPN 300 quarterback Joshua Dobbs (Alpharetta, Ga./Alpharetta).

This time last year the dual-threat signal-caller was coming off an impressive performance in the annual Rising Seniors game but only had one offer -- in baseball -- from Princeton. Six months and double-digit offers later, Dobbs was committed to Arizona State and the Sun Devils were ecstatic about having another Elite 11 quarterback headed their way. Now, 12 months later, Dobbs is in the midst of another big change, one that will see him playing in the SEC.

On Wednesday morning, Dobbs flipped his commitment from Arizona State to Tennessee after taking a an official visit to the Volunteers two weeks ago.

The nation's No. 177 overall prospect was recently named one of ESPN’s make-or-break recruits for 2013, and the Sun Devils' loss is the Volunteers’ gain. Dobbs is comfortable in the pocket -- he threw for more than 3,000 yards as a junior -- but is also dangerous when he runs. A smart decision-maker, he will fit right in with new Tennessee head coach Butch Jones’ plans for a revamped, hurry-up offense.

The Volunteers have another ESPN 300 quarterback commitment in pocket passer Riley Ferguson (Matthews, N.C./Butler), who was also an Elite 11 talent, and the pair will make for an interesting fall camp in Knoxville.

Dobbs is the Volunteers' 21st verbal commitment for the Class of 2013 and joins fellow Peach State commits Ryan Jenkins, Cameron Sutton, Joe Sanders and Riyahd Jones in heading to Tennessee.

What is the impact of Dobbs’ decision?

Instant Analysis

What it means for Tennessee: While Ferguson is an outstanding quarterback talent in his own right, Dobbs is the type of dual-threat passer who could thrive in the offense Jones plans to run at Tennessee. It should not have been this easy for the Volunteers to jump in late and pull a quarterback with the tangibles and intangibles Dobbs possesses. This should be considered one of the biggest steals of signing day.

What it means for Arizona State: It means the Sun Devils are left to scramble on signing day for a quarterback, the one position schools tend to fill first each recruiting cycle. If Arizona State intends to bring in another, it might have to scour the junior college ranks to see what is available.

Turning point: Two weeks ago, Dobbs took an unannounced official visit to Tennessee, and although he has not done an interview since his return, his coaches at Alpharetta said the trip went "incredibly well.” Having an option closer to home made for a better fit for the ESPN 300 quarterback.

Surprise (scale of 1-5): 3. It's not incredibly shocking that Dobbs accepted an offer to play near his family in the SEC, even though he had been committed to Arizona State for months. What is somewhat surprising is that more top-tier programs in the Southeast or East Coast did not make a run at the four-star passer. That could prove to be a mistake in a few years.

Immediate impact (scale of 1-5): 3. Normally a true freshman quarterback would not be expected to vie for playing time in a BCS program, but with the returning quarterbacks at Tennessee combining for just one touchdown pass, anything is possible. Regardless of whether or not he redshirts, Dobbs will provide an instant boost to the locker room and a leader for a program looking for direction.