KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — It’s hard to believe Josh Dobbs will be running through the T for the last time Saturday against Missouri.

The senior quarterback from Alpharetta, Ga., arrived in 2013, making a flip from Arizona State to play for the newly hired Butch Jones.

He’ll leave as one of the most decorated Vols quarterbacks in program history.

It hasn’t always been easy, and his inconsistent passing certainly has frustrated many a Vols fan, but Dobbs made Tennessee competitive again for the first time since the Fulmer era.

He was inserted into the fire at Alabama as a freshman at halftime. History repeated against Alabama his sophomore season, when he appeared in relief. He’s rarely left the field since.

As the starter in the following week at South Carolina, Dobbs began to make a name for himself with a 300-yard day and fourth-quarter comeback that helped make the Vols bowl eligible for the first time under Jones.

A 9-4 junior season followed, punctuated by a dominant performance in the Outback Bowl, and now a SEC East championship remains possible in his senior season. The chance at the SEC East championship comes after defeating Florida, becoming the first Volunteer quarterback to defeat the Gators in 11 years.

Dobbs now has 8,145 yards of total offense, becoming just the fourth Volunteers player (Peyton Manning, Casey Clausen, Erik Ainge) to produce as much. He is 21-11 as a starter, and has been the focal point in restoring the Tennessee football program.

And those are just his on-the-field contributions. His off-the-field list of accomplishments is even longer.

“The time flew by,” Dobbs said heading into his final home game. “It feels like I’ve been here awhile, but it also feels like it has flown by. It has been enjoyable and I’m just trying to keep everything in perspective. I’m just focusing on preparing for Saturday and not try to get too emotional or anything.”

It likely would have been a different story if Jones had not taken the Tennessee job and Dobbs ended up in the Valley of the Sun. But Jones hit the recruiting trail with very few days until signing day after being hired in early December. His goal was to find a quarterback.

Jones zeroed in on Dobbs, and flipped him on signing day.

“I said, ‘If we can find our quarterback for the future …’ — this was four years ago – ‘then this was a class that we did well in,'” Jones said this week, reflecting on his first signing class. “I just felt that we needed to find the future and the consistency at quarterback and if we could find a couple of impactful players that could impact our program, not only on the field but off the field, then it would be a successful recruiting class.

“We were able to do that. I’m proud of them for staying. We talked about leaving a legacy and they will definitely leave a legacy when their time ends.”

Dobbs will leave a legacy, a legacy that some can say he finished arguably as a Top 5 quarterback – all-time – at Tennessee.

Wins against Missouri, Vanderbilt and a bowl win would move Dobbs into fifth all-time for career wins, tied with the SEC championship quarterback Andy Kelly.

  • Peyton Manning (1994-1997) 39
  • Casey Clausen (2000-2003) 34
  • Erik Ainge (2004-2007) 27
  • Andy Kelly (1988-1991) 24
  • Condredge Holloway (1972-1974) 23
  • Tee Martin (1996-1999) 22
  • Josh Dobbs (2013-present) 21

Dobbs will leave Knoxville fifth all-time in school history for touchdown’s thrown.

  • Peyton Manning (1994-1997) 89
  • Casey Clausen (2000-2003) 75
  • Erik Ainge (2004-2007) 72
  • Tyler Bray (2010-2012) 69
  • Josh Dobbs (2013-present) 47

Dobbs can even finish his Tennessee career in the Top 3 in total yards all-time.

  • Peyton Manning (1994-1997) 11,020
  • Casey Clausen (2000-2003) 9,577
  • Erik Ainge (2004-2007) 8,473
  • Josh Dobbs (2013-present) 8,145

Dobbs isn’t concerned with records or milestones. He smiled last week in explaining that his mom told him that he broke Tennessee’s career record for rushing touchdowns by a quarterback (26).

Saturday, he’ll get one last chance inside Neyland Stadium to add to that record — and others.

Regardless of how high he climbs in Tennessee’s record book, his legacy is secure: He’s leaving Tennessee football in much better shape than he found it.