CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- IF YOU knew Aaron Dobson's cell number, you don't anymore. He pulled the proverbial plug, giving you that nagging voice telling you, "You have reached a number that has been changed or is no longer in service, blah, blah, blah."
Really, he had to.
I am reminded of a former Marshall player, tight end Lee Smith, promising he was going to be impossible to reach after the night he was selected in the 2011 draft by the Patriots. Let me tell you, he kept his promise.
This is the craziest, most important time in life of Dobson, the wide receiver from Dunbar. After he was selected 59th overall by the New England Patriots, he was all but whisked off to Foxborough to get started.
His first action came in three days of minicamps. He returned home until May 13, when he reported for those OTAs - Organized Team Activities or Offseason Training Activities or whatever words you can fit into those letters.
Those OTAs are not all about route-running. He went through some activities sponsored by the NFL Players Association, including a networking function of sorts with officials from Upper Deck and other sports-related companies. Rookies undergo an orientation in late June in Canton, Ohio.
"He's been pretty busy," said Dobson's father, Bobby. "He's enjoying it, the different level and tempo. He's getting used to a new terminology, digging into the playbook, trying to learn as much as he can as quick as he can."
Something Aaron Dobson learned to do quickly, Dad said, is getting used to catching passes from Tom Brady. Let's put it this way: Dobson won't have to make many backhanded catches.
"He said it's incredible," Bobby Dobson said. "You don't realize it, because the ball is there perfectly every time."
I would expect the younger Dobson's signing this week. On Friday, the Patriots signed their earlier second-round pick, linebacker Jamie Collins of Southern Mississippi, the 52nd overall pick. Four of the Pats' seven draft picks have been signed.
In terms of warm bodies, Dobson enters a mosh pit at wide receiver - 11 players in all. But this unit is in full rebuilding mode, with former St. Louis Ram Danny Amendola and maybe Julian Edelman the only names you probably know.
Better than that, only Edelman (69) and Matthew Slater (1) have caught passes from Brady. Edelman suffered a foot injury, limiting his season to nine games.
One other "X"-type receiver, Josh Boyce of Texas Christian, was selected in the fourth round. Others vying for roster spots will included Michael Jenkins, a 10th-year veteran who has caught 354 passes for the Falcons and Vikings, and Lavelle Hawkins, at sixth-year man who caught 47 passes for the Titans in 2011. Also added was Donald Jones, who caught 82 passes in three years for the Bills.
Herd fans may remember Kamar Aiken from his Central Florida days, but he has played three games in two years. If you know Kembrell Thompkins, you must be a Cincinnati fan.
The most curious part of the Conference USA meetings is having women's basketball adopt a Wednesday-Saturday scheduling format - in other words, what the men's teams had, and what most of them liked for some reason. Good luck with that, ladies.
As the new C-USA lineup goes with a more sensible Thursday-Saturday format, I hear two ways this could benefit the new C-USA: More potential for TV and better officiating, believe it not. Apparently, more of the better officials have more big-game assignments on Wednesday than on Thursday.
Left over from the state track meet: You've got to give it up for Frankfort's Shane Ickes.