La Grange's J.K. Dobbins(22) escapes a tackle by Liberty Hill's Andy Becker(35) during their class 4A high school football game at Leopard Stadium in La Grange Friday, Aug. 28, 2015. (Stephen Spillman for AMERICAN-STATESMAN)

Football

The Opening: La Grange back JK Dobbins wins title as top athlete

Posted July 8th, 2016

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Story highlights
  • Leopards running back covered 40 yards in 4.45 seconds.
  • Dobbins needs a little more than 2,000 yards rushing this season to break Austin-area career mark.
  • South Grand Prairie safety Jeffrey Okudah also impresses in drills.

BEAVERTON, Ore. — If there was any debate before, it’s now over: The top athletes in the 2017 football recruiting class reside in Texas.

On Friday morning, all 166 participants at The Opening went through various combine drills, and no one did it better than La Grange running back JK Dobbins, who posted a composite score of 146.76 to capture the title of the Nike+ Football Rating champion.

Finishing second was another Texan, South Grand Prairie safety Jeffrey Okudah, who wasn’t far behind Dobbins, scoring 142.56.

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Players were evaluated in the 40-yard dash, the agility cone drill, the standing broad jump and a seated medicine ball throw. Each athlete’s body weight also was taken into consideration.

Dobbins, the fourth-ranked player in the American-Statesman’s Fab 55, ran the 40 in 4.45 seconds and completed the cone drill in 4.09 seconds. He jumped 43.1 inches and threw the medicine ball 42 feet.

An Ohio State pledge, Dobbins received his trophy from former Buckeyes running back Ezekiel Elliott, who is entering his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys. Elliott, a 2012 alumnus of The Opening, scored 118.11 when he was tested four years ago.

Event organizers canceled a media session scheduled for Friday afternoon, meaning Dobbins wouldn’t be talking about his results until the evening.

Though he is committed to the Buckeyes, that won’t stop Longhorns head coach Charlie Strong and his assistants from making a play for Dobbins, who enters his senior season at La Grange with a chance of becoming the all-time leading rusher in Central Texas. Last season, the Statesman named Dobbins a finalist for the All-Central Texas player of the year after he ran for 2,740 yards and 35 touchdowns.

Dobbins, who has totaled 5,149 yards rushing in his first three seasons, needs 2,009 more to tie Brock Fitzhenry of Giddings for the area record.

For now, UT is without a running back in its 2017 class, but by all accounts Dobbins is at the top of Strong’s recruiting board.

Likewise, Texas is high on Okudah, the nation’s top safety and the No. 5 player on the Fab 55. He ran the 40 in 4.49 seconds while hitting 42 feet on the medicine ball throw and 41.6 inches on the standing jump.

Finishing third behind Dobbins and Okudah was Mississippi running back Cam Akers (uncommitted). Virginia safety Devon Hunter (uncommitted) was fourth while Florida running back Darrian Felix (uncommitted) was fifth.

Five-star linebacker Dylan Moses, who has said Texas is his top school, ran the 40 in 4.5 seconds.

The fastest 40 time belonged to Salvon Ahmed of Kirkland, Wash., who burned to the line in 4.32 seconds.

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