Written by SportsDayDFW.com
Mesquite Horn 6-3, 200-pound TE Vincent Hobbs stands out — but not just because of his size
Former receiver makes switch into new position
It’s the kind of size people notice, the kind you can spot from the last row of the bleachers at a Friday night game.
It’s 30 pounds of muscle added to an already 200-pound receiver’s frame, a helmet and pads enhancing what his coaches already know: Vincent Hobbs is a special player.
The 6-foot-3, 200-pound senior has become the nucleus of the Mesquite Horn offense since transitioning to tight end. In a program that sent its top two receivers last year to Big 12 schools, Hobbs is one of many talented players, and despite his lack of big-time college offers, Hobbs is making a name for himself this season.
“I’ve never had a player like Vince before, so for us it’s been a little bit of a science project,” Horn coach Rodney Webb said.
That project began years ago, when coaches realized Hobbs’ potential to be a high-level tight end. Getting him to that point, though, has involved patience. Hobbs played receiver for his first two years on varsity, refining what Webb called some of the best hands he’s ever seen. But still the coaches waited, allowing Hobbs to gain the maturity and comfort needed to transition to tight end.
For those years, Hobbs was just another receiver, but with every trip to the weight room he stood out more and more. And this year, Hobbs became more than just a bigger target for his quarterback.
“I just see myself differently from everybody else because I’m so big,” Hobbs said. “I’m never doing what everybody else is doing.”
That willingness to be something different, to evolve to fit his team’s needs, has paid off for Hobbs. He lined up as a tight end for the first time last April, and offensive coordinator Cody Moore said that since then, the senior’s blocking skills have improved immensely. Hobbs has also helped the team diversify its offense, deflecting tackles and drawing coverage away from running backs, who are catching more passes than the receivers so far this season.
Hobbs is far from finished with his transition. He knows he’s getting better each day, and he’s still waiting for recruiting offers that account for his improvement. Colleges have always been looking at him as a tight end, but with little evidence of his skills in game films, Louisiana-Monroe is the only Division I school so far that has made Hobbs an offer.
“We’ve had a lot of guys come through here who have signed with Division I schools,” Webb said. “If I didn’t know about the attention that each of those kids got, I would have thought that Vince would have been the most highly recruited kid to come through here.”
Statements like Webb’s, coupled with team-leading numbers so far this season, make the waiting bearable for Hobbs, who seems unfazed by the recruiting uncertainty. His is a quiet confidence, fueled by hours in the weight room and the looks of fear he gets from opposing players.
“They always stare at me when we do pregame stuff,” Hobbs said. “I notice it.”
Opponents and teammates are noticing. Rival coaches are factoring Hobbs into their schemes, working on different coverage plans to account for his size and hands. Parents in the stands are raising eyebrows as the hulking No. 15 lines up next to their sons, making many appear waifish in comparison.
And soon, envelopes addressed to Vincent Hobbs should be mixed in with the other recruiting letters piled neatly on Webb’s desk. Soon, the coach says, colleges too will have the concrete proof they need about his tight end.
It’s becoming hard not to notice Hobbs, but Webb gets the last laugh. He’s seen it all along.
BY THE NUMBERS
Even though Vincent Hobbs is playing tight end, rather than wide receiver, he’s still posting impressive numbers. His numbers aren’t too far off from Mesquite Horn’s top two receivers last year, Jakeem Grant and JaCorey Shepherd, through five games. Grant and Shepherd now play for Texas Tech and Kansas, respectively.
Name, Rec., Yards
Hobbs, 16, 203
Grant, 28, 410
Shepherd, 21, 297