Dobbs believes in always “giving it back”
Navy’s senior quarterback Ricky Dobbs is one of the most prolific rushing quarterbacks in college football history. But mastering Navy’s option offense is just a footnote to Dobbs’ off-the-field contributions to school and community.
In winning the 2010 Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award in the Football Bowl Subdivision, Dobbs, who started 25 games for Navy during his career, performed admirably in the community and classroom and displayed excellent character. As an acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior Class Award focuses of the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their community.
“I came up in Boys and Girls Clubs,” Dobbs said. “I was not an active member. But I would go there. It helped me a lot and kept me out of trouble in high school. My uncle always would say to give back. He always said with knowledge or wealth always give it back.
“If I would keep it myself, what good does it do? I want to give to little kids and give them the experience. I want to give them an experience like I like got. Some kids are not sure what they want to do. If someone comes and sees them, someone who has been on TV who they know and who they look up to - it speaks volumes for the kids.”
During his college career, the 6-foot-1, 203-pound Dobbs has been active in his church, has spoken to local youth groups and has worked at football camps in both Annapolis and in his hometown of Douglasville, Georgia, where he received the key to the city last June. Juggling his football responsibilities with the strenuous requirements of the academy’s academics has been no problem for Dobbs.
Dobbs will graduate this spring from Navy with a degree in general science and then fulfill his five-year military obligation after graduation.
“I don’t know exactly where I will go,” Dobbs said. “I will find out in February - Norfolk, San Diego or Japan are the three places. When they pick our ships, they will tell us what our jobs will be. I will be on a ship.”
Already by going through four years at the Naval Academy, Dobbs, who serves as vice president of the senior class, was part of the one of the most successful football classes in the institution’s history. The senior class of which Dobbs is a part won 35 games, one short of the school record of the 1909 Senior Class. Dobbs’ class beat Army four straight times, became just the third Navy class to beat Notre Dame three times, played in four bowls, and won the Commander-in-Chief’s Trophy three times.
Dobbs, who will participate in the East-West Shrine game in Orlando, started 25 games for the Midshipmen (18-7) and scored at least one touchdown in 22 of those games. His 49 career rushing touchdowns are tied for the fourth most in NCAA history for a quarterback. His 41 rushing touchdowns the last two seasons are the most for a major-college quarterback in back-to-back campaigns. Despite running the ball often against physical defenses, Dobbs never seemed to tire during his star-studded career. This past season, Dobbs also threw for a Navy single-season record of 14 touchdowns and his 2010 passing efficiency rating (160.78) was the best in school history.
“It has meant a lot,” Dobbs said. “Words can’t express how much it really means. That’s not only to the guys in this class, but to the guys who were seniors when we were freshmen. We have all worked together through stuff - the tough times and good times together - to have a senior class in the records books and one of finest and best to come through here.”
Dobbs and senior safety Wyatt Middleton were elected team captains before this past season.
“They have been leaders since the day they set foot on campus,” said Navy head football coach Ken Niumatalolo.
Dobbs has been one of Navy’s best football recruiters when prospects come to the academy to visit.
“The first thing I tell them is you can’t let your parents make your decision,” Dobbs said. “I tell them, ‘This place is tough.’ Coach (Brian) Bohannon, who is now at Georgia Tech, recruited me. He was honest with me. He said he wouldn’t have sent his son here. … I tell them to pray about it and God will then lead them to the right place. I tell them how tough it is, but it is worth it in the end.”
Dobbs said his college football experience will “carry over into life.” He says overcoming his own broken family situation helped him succeed in football. Dobbs was raised by an uncle because his mother battled addictions to drugs and alcohol and nearly died during open-heart surgery.
“They both work hand in hand,” Dobbs said. “Obviously, what I went through growing up, it helped me withstand all the ups and downs of what football has brought. And the most strenuous times as quarterback in football have helped me deal with life-time situations.
“The highlight (of my career) has been to let people see that God can do good though me,” Dobbs added.