A week after one former Bear played in the Division II national championship, another Mount Airy native will play in the New Orleans Bowl.
East Carolina plays at noon Saturday against Louisiana-Lafayette in a game televised on ESPN. Both teams bring 8-4 records into the game.
One of the running backs on the Pirates is Michael Dobson Jr., who carried the 2008 Granite Bears to a perfect season.
The Pirates arrived in New Orleans on Tuesday morning and have been practicing on-site to get comfortable with the Super Dome.
Unlike some college teams that run the ball over and over, the Pirates pass for twice as many yards per game as they rush.
Still, the son of Michael and Sharon Dobson has managed 62 carries for 190 yards, a 3.1 average, while sharing time in the backfield with Reggie Bullock and Vintavius Cooper.
Cooper, who was a running quarterback at a junior college last year, is the leading rusher with 1,030 yards on 191 carries. Bullock is second with 283 yards rushing.
Dobson has been more of a threat coming out of the backfield as a receiver. He’s caught 23 passes for 194 yards, an 8.4 yards-per-catch average.
While he isn’t a big fellow at 6 feet and 185 lbs., ECU labels him as one of the strongest players on the team pound for pound.
He was one of only nine players on the roster to earn a “super” rating in the strength and conditioning program. Back in spring workouts, he posted a 490-pound squat and a clean-and-jerk with 1,164 watts of power generated.
Dobson ran a 4.08-second time in the pro agility 20-yard shuttle run. That’s actually faster than two of the top running backs to enter the NFL this season. Alfred Morris, who is third in the NFL in rushing yards, posted a 4.19. Doug Martin, who is fifth in yards, posted a 4.16.
His broad jump of 9 feet, 10 inches would have tied him for 10th best at the NFL combine for running backs.
As a freshman in 2009-10, Dobson sat out the season as a redshirt. So even though he is in his fourth year in school, he is still a junior for athletic purposes. With Bullock graduating, Dobson could see a bigger role with the team next season.
At Mount Airy, Dobson was a monster running back, twice being named to the all-state team.
He rushed for 4,776 yards over three years on varsity with 83 touchdowns. On defense, he finished his career with 12 interceptions.
As a senior, he averaged a whopping 11.4 yards per carry. He also won the regional championship in the 100 meters for the track team.