From Pee Wee to the NFL, Jaguars QB Josh Dobbs and Saints RB Alvin Kamara have built memories together at every level of football
Josh Dobbs and Alvin Kamara have came a long way since riding together to all-star practices in Fulton County, Georgia. After all, the two middle school friends did not know then that one day they would both be on NFL rosters.
On Sunday, Dobbs and Kamara will step into TIAA Bank Field on opposing teams as the Jacksonville Jaguars face-off against against the New Orleans Saints in Jacksonville. But it was long before then that their paths began to intertwine.
"I started playing football with or against Alvin in Pee Wee," Dobbs told JaguarMaven on Friday. "He was zoned for Centennial High School or middle school and I was zoned for Alpharetta, so we were like in the same region for school."
"We played against each other in sixth, seventh and eighth grade. And then at the end of the year, because we were in the same region, we were always on the same All-Star teams in sixth, seventh and eight grade."
It was then that Dobbs and Kamara's friendship began to grow. They did know where the friendship and football would one day take them, but they rode to all-star practices together, shared football fields and basketball courts and even went through the trials and tribulations of being high school seniors recruited by major college football programs.
"The stuff he does today on Sundays when he plays is the same things he has been doing since like Pee Wee," Dobbs said. "So it is fun to watch and see that transition."
Throughout this period after middle school, the two played on separate teams aside from high school all-star games. It would take a few more years for the two to share a backfield on an extended basis.
"In high school he played at Norcross and I was at Alpharetta so we didn’t play each other then. But we played in the Rising Senior Bowl on the same team," Dobbs said.
"Then of course when recruiting season came around he almost went to Tennessee out of high school, but then he ended up coming to Tennessee after (junior college). "
"I didn’t commit to Tennessee until the day before signing day, so we were all kind of up in the air. We all chose like on signing day where we were going to go. Like Carl (Lawson) went to Auburn, Alvin went to Alabama and I went to Tennessee, so we all ended up separated. Then he ended up coming to Tennessee, and of course we played together and had a good history at Tennessee. "
Kamara would eventually transfer from the University of Alabama to Hutchinson Community College in the 2014 season. After a dynamic season for the Blue Dragons, he was courted by the University of Tennessee, where his old friend Dobbs was now the starting quarterback.
Kamara transferred to Tennessee in 2015, giving him and Dobbs the chance to share a backfield for their final two years of college football.
"We had been playing on the same field or same court together for awhile. It is always good to have a familiar face and a guy that you know, who you’ve seen grow and you know what he is able to do with the football in his hands," Dobbs said Friday.
From 2015-2016, Dobbs and Kamara became two of the leaders of the Volunteers program, with the team going 18-8 in their two seasons together. For Dobbs, the two seasons spent handing off and throwing to his friend gave him an even better glimpse into the rare player that Kamara is.
"I think his contact balance obviously is what makes him so special. For me, playing with him it was his football IQ and just his awareness on the field," Dobbs said.
"And then especially in the pass game, him getting out and getting a chance to get the ball in his hand, get him one-on-one with those linebackers and safeties and get him on matchups."
"He is definitely a great guy to have in the backfield. I have really enjoyed playing with him in the past."
With both players being on the offensive side of the ball, there is no scenario where they will take the field at the same time on Sunday. Anyways, since Dobbs is the Jaguars backup quarterback, the hope is he doesn't have to really see the field at any point.
But when the smoke clears after the Jaguars and Saints game comes to a close, the two will likely find each other in the post-game scrums on the field. And for Dobbs, the chance to see his friend Kamara once again, this time on an NFL field, will be yet another football memory for the two.
"Just to see (old teammates) achieving their goals and dreams on the field … it is always a great experience to see them, to swap the jersey and just exchange the memories," Dobbs said.
"It will be good to see a familiar face."