New faces are expected to shine bright on the Wildcats football squad during the 2020 fall season. Freshman running back, Jermiah Dobbins, is one of many incoming freshmen looking to make an impact.
A running back out of Estacado High School in Lubbock, Dobbins was recruited by Virginia, Lamar and other Div. I schools across America. However, his decision to join ACU was a foregone conclusion.
“[ACU] offered me a scholarship early,” Dobbins said. “I liked the place, the coaches and the environment. Everybody is so close here and like family.”
Dobbins received the majority of carries his senior season, averaging over 200 rushing yards a game (2,678 rushing yards) and tallying 25 touchdowns. His final two high school games were played at Wildcat Stadium, where he helped lead the Matadors to a 12-1 record and an appearance in the Class 4A Division II regional round.
“My coaches started me young,” Dobbins said. “I started as a sophomore and learned how to take hits younger [than most players] and just improve from there. I knew I wanted to play college, so I had to go harder.”
Dobbins explored other sports, including baseball and soccer, but football became his passion growing up.
“The first time I played football I was about six years old,” Dobbins said. “At that time, I just thought it was fun to run away from people. As I got older, I started getting more physical and started to like tackle [football].”
Dobbins is expected to receive extended reps on the field in his first season. Head coach Adam Dorrel has spoken highly of his work on the field so far and expects him to be a key piece in the backfield as a freshman. Ultimately, Dobbins scored the first touchdown of the season for the Wildcats Saturday at UTEP.
Dobbins credits High school coaches and parents to his success on the field and his new coaches and teammates at ACU.
“My running back coach has really helped me, believing in me and showing me all the plays,” Dobbins said. “The older players like Peyton [Mansell] and Kade [Parmelley] have taken me under.”
While running backs coach Bryce Baccarini has been impressed with Dobbins’ raw talent, and his dedication in the weight room, he was particularly surprised to see how he carries himself on the field.
“The first thing I noticed about him was his humility,” Baccarini said. “He’s a little soft-spoken, but you can see in his eyes and the way he walks that he has a little confidence too. Before I even saw him on the field, I knew that combination of humility and confidence is pretty rare for a kid his age.”
While Dobbins adjusted quickly to his new surroundings and culture at ACU, Baccarini has played a large role in his progression both on and off the field.
“When [Dobbins] first got here, it was a lot to handle,” Baccarini said. “Getting to a new place and learning a collegiate Division I playbook is a lot on one’s plate. We would Zoom together over the summer and walk through the playbook and slow it down.”
Dobbins wasn’t expected to redshirt this season, but he’ll still have four years of eligibility following the 2020 fall season.
“This season is kind of a gift for him,” Baccarini said. “The NCAA passed a blanket redshirt deal, so this year I’m super excited and I think he is too. He gets to have experience before even using a year of eligibility. [Dobbins] had a lot of success in his high school, and I’m sure he’s ready to prove that can translate over. Overall, I’m sure he has very high hopes for himself, as do I.”