Ohio State Football: Sorry, J.K. Dobbins brought comparisons on himself


Is J.K. Dobbins on his way to a record setting freshman season?

It’s not fair to compare a young freshman running back to some of the all-time greats who have carried the football for the Ohio State Buckeyes. I’m sorry, but the way J.K. Dobbins has performed in his first three games, he brought the comparisons on all by himself.

At the very least, it’s reasonable to speculate whether or not Dobbins could have one of the best seasons an Ohio State freshman running back has ever had. If he were to continue at his torrid pace, Dobbins would smash the rushing yardage total for a first year player.

Let’s take a look at three great seasons by Buckeye running backs when they were true freshman. You will see that J.K. Dobbins has the chance to match or exceed their totals. First, a look at the greatest Ohio State running back Archie Griffin and his freshman season.

In 1972, Archie didn’t make it to the 1,000 yard mark but he rushed for 867 yards in just 11 games. What made his season so impressive was that Ohio State head coach Woody Hayes was still running the T-Formation and he distributed the ball among the running backs.

Once Woody found out what he had in Archie, the legendary coach switched to the I-Formation to feature his star running back and the rest is history.

More from Scarlet and Game

It took nearly two more decades for a true freshman to rush for 1,000 yards. Robert Smith proved he was worthy of the hype as one of the top recruits in the country and rushed for 1,126 yards in 12 games.

Fast forward another dozen years and another top running back recruit broke Smith’s record. Maurice Clarett played in 11 of the 14 games that season, rushed for 1,237 yards and practically ‘carried’ the offense as the Buckeyes won the National Championship in 2002.

J.K. Dobbins has already rushed for 425 yards in his three games as a Buckeye, averaging 7.7 yards per carry. I think that should invite comparisons to the others I mentioned, don’t you?

The Buckeyes will play at least 13 games this season so let’s see what Dobbins would have to accomplish to hit 1,000 yards, or break the freshman rushing record. Let’s project his numbers on 6 yards per carry going forward instead of the insane 7.7 yards he has averaged so far.  

10 carries for 60 yards per game would give J.K. 1,025 rushing yards by the end of the season. 14 carries for 84 yards per game would give Dobbins the freshman record at 1,265 yards.

I think those two accomplishments are well within his reach in 13 games. But the Buckeyes could play 14 games if they play for the Big Ten Championship, or 15 if they make the playoff and play in the National  Title Game.

Next: Week 3 predictions, and some disagreement

However the season plays out for J.K. Dobbins, he has lived up to the hype of being a star recruit so far. It will be fun to watch and see just what this young man will accomplish during his freshman season, and beyond.