Where Did Joshua Dobbs Go to College?

Joshua Dobbs has emerged as a breakout underdog story. But did he play Power Five football at the college level before captivating the NFL?

Joshua Dobbs has captivated the NFL world as the newest underdog story. He’s gone from playing on his third team this season to spearheading a playoff hunt for the Minnesota Vikings.

But is there one more attachment to Dobbs, which includes if he may have been overlooked in college?

Tracing Back to Joshua Dobbs’ Collegiate Career

Turns out Dobbs isn’t your small-college-to-the-NFL type of story. He witnessed Southeastern Conference competition before his pro career took off.

Dobbs suited up for the University of Tennessee, playing for the Volunteers from 2013 to 2016. However, his Vols start had some early turbulence.

MORE: Is Josh Dobbs a Rocket Scientist?

As a true freshman, Dobbs played in five games but lost four of five starts. In addition to his dismal record in 2013, he threw more interceptions (six) than touchdowns (two).

However, Dobbs eventually showed he was capable of leading a position once made famous by a young Peyton Manning and in later years by Hendon Hooker.

Dobbs improved his record to 3-3 his sophomore year and combined for 17 total touchdowns (nine through the air). Then, in 2015, Dobbs established himself as the full-time starter in Tennessee.

As a response to rising up as QB1 in Knoxville, Dobbs spearheaded back-to-back 9-4 seasons for the Vols. His best season was his last in 2016, as he combined for 40 touchdowns (13 rushing) and threwfor a career-high 2,946 yards.

To his credit, Dobbs managed to bring renewed winning stability to Tennessee. The Volunteers enjoyed their most success with Dobbs behind center since 2006 and 2007, when the team posted nine- and 10-win seasons. In addition to producing consecutive nine-win seasons, Dobbs managed to break a cycle of consecutive 5-7 victory seasons at Knoxville, Tenn.

How Did Dobbs First Land on NFL Boards?

It wasn’t just his Knoxville work that drew attention from NFL scouts.

The Senior Bowl helped catapult Dobbs’ league chances. As the starting QB for the South team, he went 12 of 15 in the air for 102 yards. While he threw one interception, he led his team to the 16-15 win.

Then, NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock took a liking to Dobbs. Not only did he fawn over Dobbs’ big arm, but even believed he was capable of landing in the second round. ESPN was another place that rated him highly, placing him within the top 10 QBs on the network’s draft board after his 2017 NFL Scouting Combine performance.

Ultimately, his career launched with the Pittsburgh Steelers, who took him in the fourth round (No. 135 overall).

Dobbs’ NFL Journey Before Minnesota Vikings Success

Dobbs has since become a rare case of going from league journeyman to potential playoff starter.

Dobbs’ other stops? The Jacksonville Jaguars, a second stint with the Steelers, two stints with the Cleveland Browns, the Detroit Lions, the Tennessee Titans, and most recently, the Arizona Cardinals.

But his last three NFL addresses have been in Cleveland, the Phoenix region, and Minneapolis — all since March 2023.

Since his arrival via trade, all Dobbs has done is help create a two-game winning streak for a Vikings team that appeared to be losing their playoff chances — following the loss of veteran QB Kirk Cousins for the rest of the season.

Dobbs, however, has thrown three touchdowns and zero interceptions in Cousins’ absence. And when he turns to his mobility, he’s combined for 110 yards and two rushing touchdowns.

Now, with the Sunday Night Football cameras on him, the NFL world will finally see the underdog story that once elevated the Volunteers out of their own predicament.

From the current NFL standings to team depth charts to coverage of every game in the 18-week NFL schedule, we have all the news from around the league to keep you up to speed!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast!

Listen to the PFN Inside Access Podcast! Click the embedded player below to listen, or you can find the PFN Fantasy Podcast on iTunes, Spotify, and all major podcast platforms.  Be sure to subscribe and leave us a five-star review!

Related Articles