Per TMZ Sports, Dobbins did so to honor his father, Lawrence Dobbins, who starred at La Grange (Texas) High School while wearing No. 27.
Lawrence died from a stroke at age 33 when J.K. was just 15 years old, per Bill Rabinowitz of the Columbus Dispatch.
In an interview with Rabinowitz, J.K.'s mother, Mya Grounds, explained how close father and son were and how Lawrence's death impacted J.K.:
"J.K. was really close with his dad. The death of his dad just gave him that drive and discipline. He was competitive (before), but it seemed he was more focused and committed to being a good role model for his (two younger) brothers. He realized life is short, and let’s make the most of it. It made a big impact on the way he handled himself.”
Dobbins was the 55th overall pick of the 2020 draft.
He dominated during his final year at OSU, gaining 2,250 yards from scrimmage and recording 23 touchdowns for a 13-1 Buckeyes team that won the Big Ten and nearly beat Clemson in the College Football Playoff semifinal before losing 29-23.
Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked Dobbins as the fourth-best running back and the No. 43 overall player in the 2020 draft class.
The last player to wear No. 27 in Baltimore was running back Ray Rice, who was indicted on third-degree aggravated assault after striking his then-fiancee, Janay Palmer, unconscious in 2014. A judge dismissed the charge against Rice after he completed a pretrial intervention program.
"Ray Rice was an amazing player," Dobbins said. "... But, I wear that number for myself because I want to set a legacy for my own self in that number."
Dobbins, who wore No. 2 at OSU, will join a backfield piloted by former Heisman Trophy winner and nine-year veteran Mark Ingram II. Quarterback Lamar Jackson led the team in rushing in 2019, however, and the Ravens paced the league in rushing yards as well. Adding Dobbins will only make the team more formidable on the ground.