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For most NFL hopefuls, the last few months have been spent trying to maximize their standing among the league’s thirty-two teams ahead of next Thursday’s draft. And while former Tennessee Volunteers quarterback Josh Dobbs has been doing a good bit of that, he’s also going to spend this weekend flying hockey pucks across the Arizona desert. Dobbs is finalizing his degree in aerospace engineering and participating in the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Design/Build/Fly competition in Tucson is a graduation requirement. So while many of his peers will spend Friday and Saturday sweating draft boards, Dobbs will be sweating in the desert trying to bring a top-25 finish back to the Volunteer state.
Fortunately, Dobbs has a lot of experience balancing football and school. Even back in high school he had his priorities in order. When a recruiting visit from Tennessee head coach Butch Davis ran long, Dobbs politely excused himself before it was over so that he could go upstairs and study for a physics exam. To Jones, that only cemented that Dobbs was the player he wanted to lead his team. As he told Bleacher Report‘s Mike Tanier, “We wanted a CEO quarterback. We wanted an individual who was very consistent, who was very stable in their life.”
Once he got back to campus, Jones asked members of the school’s aerospace engineering department to meet with Dobbs, and their efforts paid off when the quarterback enrolled the next year. He played the second half of both his freshman and sophomore seasons before taking over as the fulltime starter as a Junior. He would go on to lead Tennessee back to respectability in the always tough SEC and projects to be selected somewhere in the middle rounds of next week’s draft.
His pro-prospects are a bit hazy as some scouts have questioned his consistency and ability to throw from the pocket. Many of the same scouts, however, thought the same about Cowboys’ starter Dak Prescott going into the draft last season (and that’s worked out alright so far).
Ultimately, like Prescott last year and ninety-five percent of the other prospects waiting to hear their names called next week, Dobbs’ success will most likely be tied rather heavily to where he ends up. If it’s a situation that can give him room to grow and caters to his strengths, he could do well. If not, well he can always fall back on a career as a rocket scientist, and I guess that’s not all bad.
As Christians, we can live with a similar sense of freedom. We can, and should, try as hard as we can to succeed in the calling God has placed on each of our lives (Colossians 3:23). But if we fall short, whether it’s due to some fault of our own or that of others, we know that our Lord stands ready to redeem our situation and use us for some other good. As Rick Warren put it, “God specializes in giving people a fresh start.”
There will be times in life where doors close through no fault of our own. While our first response in such circumstances should always be to ask God to help us understand if there was something we could have done better, it’s crucial that we avoid the temptation to despair and mistakenly believe that the Lord can’t do anything else with our lives. We may not have a career in aeronautical engineering to fall back on, but as long as we have breath, we have a purpose and God wants desperately to help us understand what it is. Will you let him?