November 10, 2013

Malone talks Dobbs relationship, visit & more

Josh Malone has been to the University of Tennessee campus enough that there are not really any tours needed.

But when Malone made his official visit to see the Vols last month, the top uncommitted player in Tennessee and one of the nation's most sought-after wide receivers was hosted by a Tennessee freshman named Joshua Dobbs.

Back then, Dobbs was down the Vols' depth chart. Now he's the rookie starting quarterback, and Malone wanted to see the Dobbs-led offense firsthand. That's why the rangy wideout with the knack for attacking the ball at its highest point made a somewhat unexpected trip back to Neyland Stadium for the Vols' game against Auburn.

"I really just wanted to see Dobbs play in person and see the offense with him so that if I do go to Tennessee, I can see who's going to be leading the offense and who's going to be throwing to me.

"I felt like Dobbs did pretty good. He did a good job moving them up and down the field. Led them to some scores early on and then it just kind of got away from them at the end. I thought offensively they showed some promise."

Malone, who said he and Dobbs "got along well" on the official visit and occasionally still communicate, also spent time with first-year Tennessee head coach Butch Jones.

"I talked to Butch and he told me how much he's going to dedicate himself to me and how much he wants to work with me and develop my skill set. He let me know he wants to keep trying to get me back up there on campus and that I'm a big part of their plan and how much he really wants to coach me."

That component, Malone said, definitely stood out.

"It means a lot; it shows they have a plan and want me to be a big part of their plan for the future," he said.

Malone will choose a school Dec. 4 and be a mid-year enrollee. He has an official visit left to Clemson and did not rule out another impromptu trip to Rock Top.

"I might just because it's close by," Malone said. "It just matters how the rest of my schedule sets up and if I have time."

Malone guided his Station Camp Bisons to an opening-round playoff win on Friday with three receiving touchdowns and a pivotal interception. He now has more than 1,300 receiving yards and 22 offensive touchdowns. Malone averaged more than 20 yards per catch during the regular season.

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