Ohio State junior running back J.K. Dobbins, a 2017 graduate of La Grange High School, received the seventh annual Earl Campbell Tyler Rose Award at a banquet Wednesday in Tyler at Willow Brook Country Club.
The award, named in honor of the Tyler native and the Heisman Trophy-winning running back who played at Texas, honors the top offensive player in Division I football who also exhibits the "enduring characteristics that define Earl Campbell: integrity, performance, teamwork, sportsmanship, drive, community, and tenacity; specifically, tenacity to persist and determination to overcome adversity and injury in pursuit of reaching goals," according to a press release issued by the award officials.
The nominee must either be from Texas, played high school football in Texas, or played college football in Texas. In addition to Dobbins, the finalists included: Baylor quarterback Charlie Brewer, a Lake Travis graduate; Oklahoma receiver CeeDee Lamb of Richmond; Oklahoma quarterback Jalen Hurts of Channelview; and SMU quarterback Shane Buechele of Arlington.
Buechele and Brewer attended the event.
Dobbins was gracious in his acceptance speech, according to the Longview News-Journal, which covered the event.
"Thank you all for having me here in Tyler, Texas, and I am so honored to be in the presence of Earl Campbell," Dobbins said at the event. "There are so many great football players from the state of Texas in college football. (SMU quarterback) Shane (Buechele), (Baylor quarterback) Charlie (Brewer), y’all are great, great players. I want to thank my mom (Mya Grounds) for supporting me. It is such a honor to be a part of this community now."
Earl Campbell, and his sons Tyler and Christian Campbell, who both graduated from Westlake High School, presented the award to Dobbins.
"I’m honored to present the award to J.K. Dobbins," Earl Campbell said. "All of these players had an amazing season. They all deserved their place as a finalist.
Dobbins rushed for 2,003 rushing yards in 2019 and helped Ohio State win a third consecutive outright Big 10 Conference championship and a return to the College Football Playoffs. Dobbins rushed for 100 or more yards 10 times this past season.
Dobbins will bypass his senior season and enter the NFL Draft, where he is projected as a possible first-round pick. He leaves Ohio State with his name etched in the school’s record books; the first Ohio State player ever to rush for 1,000 or more yards as a freshman, sophomore and junior, Dobbins finishes as the school’s second-leading all-time rusher with 4,459 yards, behind only two-time Heisman winner Archie Griffin.
During his career at La Grange, Dobbins ran for 4,983 combined yards as a sophomore and junior while helping the Leopards to a 34-6 record in his three seasons on the varsity team. He missed his senior year with an ankle injury but still earned a spot on the American-Statesman’s all-decade football team.