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The emotions of a draft pick

Apr. 30, 2013 @ 12:00 AM

HUNTINGTON -- For newly-acquired New England Patriots wide receiver Aaron Dobson, it has been a week in which he's run the gamut of emotion.

Dobson, who was selected by the Patriots in the second round (59th overall) in last week's NFL Draft, was where it all started when the news came that his dreams had come true.

He was at home in West Virginia -- the only place he knows as home.

The Dunbar native starred for South Charleston High School, leading the Black Eagles to a state title as a senior.

Then, he took his efforts to Marshall University where he was a deep threat for the Thundering Herd offense in all four years, finishing in the school's career Top 10 in receiving yards and tying Troy Brown for fourth in all-time touchdowns with 24.

West Virginia is all he has ever known, so getting used to the thought of being away is nerve-wracking enough.

Add in the anticipation of a college football player who knows he will be drafted, but has no clue where he will play -- from Seattle to Miami or, in Dobson's case, Foxboro, Mass. -- and it is a lot to ingest at once.

"It's indescribable, really," Dobson said. "It's exciting, but at the same time, you're anxious because you've waited so long for this, but you have no clue where you're going to end up or what place you're going to live. Once you get that phone call, though, you know it's all paid off."

When that call came, Dobson was alerted that his new quarterback is a player who is one of the most clutch performers in NFL history as well as being one of the most accurate passers ever.

Dobson said the emotions all got to him at once as he went from draft prospect to potentially Tom Brady's No. 1 deep threat.

"Oh my gosh. I've been watching him and he's been doing this so well for so long," Dobson said. "I was like 9 or 10 years old when he first came in the league and I was young when I was watching him. I had dreams of being one of those receivers out there.

"Now, we are going to be on the same team and I can be his top target. It's a blessing. It really is."

In addition to taking in the NFL Draft on television at his home in Dunbar, Dobson returned to the scene of his college years on Saturday -- Marshall's Joan C. Edwards Stadium -- for the Green and White spring game.

Decked out in his New England Patriots gear, he joined former Marshall players Vinny Curry, Mario Harvey, Doug Legursky, Albert McClellan and Omar Brown on the field as NFLers who got their start in Huntington.

Those players are part of a fraternity -- Marshall players who have made it -- and they all offered their congratulations to Dobson, who was knighted into the club.

There have also been those before him -- Chad Pennington, Byron Leftwich and many others.

Of course, there's Randy Moss and Troy Brown included as well -- a pair of wide receivers that made their mark with the Patriots' organization.

Brown is one of New England's all-time fan favorites after 14 NFL years of dedication to the organization and Moss set the all-time single-season touchdown record with 23 in 2007.

Still, Dobson knows that despite a strong Marshall legacy with the Patriots, it means little in his upcoming career.

He's going to have to go in and work extremely hard to prove that he is the Patriots' top deep target.

"It's great being compared to Moss or related to Troy Brown because I'm going to the Patriots, but I'm wanting to make my own name," Dobson said. "I come from Dunbar and I want to represent Dunbar as best I can. I'm thrilled that the Patriots took me so I can represent Dunbar at the next level."

Dobson said possibly the best part of being a Patriot is the organization reminds him of West Virginia in a way.

Owner Robert Kraft treats the New England Patriots like a family rather than a business, much like the people of West Virginia.

"They have a great organization and it starts up top," Dobson said. "That's why they are always in the playoffs and always in games."

Since 2001, the Patriots have missed the playoffs just twice with no losing seasons. They won Super Bowls in 2001, 2003 and 2004 while appearing in the Super Bowl in 2007 and 2011. They have appeared in the AFC Conference championship seven times during that stretch.



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