Tide hosts sleeper JUCO talent

Alabama has been utilizing the Junior College ranks a bit more in the class of 2014 than previously, and one of the latest prospects to garner plenty of attention while on campus hails from a state known much more for hoops than football. "They offered me a while ago."

High school sports were an avenue that came easier for Lance McDowell than most. He helped lead teams to sectional titles in the state of New York in both football and basketball.

Probably the better basketball player during his prep days, recording 26 points in a championship game, he has developed into a potentially elite football prospect after entering the Junior College ranks.

Even still, programs flocked to Nassau Community College this spring to see four-star offensive lineman Chad Mavety before happening to notice a 6-foot-5, 310-pounder on the other side of the ball.

Alabama assistant Mario Cristobal was in the Empire State this spring to check in on one of the top offensive lineman on the Crimson Tide's board, when McDowell emerged.

"They offered me a while ago, when they came to watch me and Chad Mavety practice," the sophomore added.

So with Mavety planning an unofficial visit to Tuscaloosa during Nick Saban's final camp of the summer, it was a no-brainer for McDowell to take the trip with his current and possible future teammate.

"It was awesome," said McDowell of his trip. "I didn't (participate in) camp, they said I'm on top of their board so I didn't camp. But it was fun, I like it down there."

Several Tide assistants made it a point to spend some time with McDowell, he says.

"I talked to Coach Cristobal and Coach [Billy] Napier and Coach [Kirby] Smart and the D-line coach, Coach [Chris] Rumph," he said. "Alabama was cool. I had a great visit, the coaches showed me how elite Alabama is."

The top compliment came from McDowell's potential position coach should he end up with the defending champs.

"Coach Rumph said I'm a beast," he said. "He loves my speed and quickness at the size I am."

McDwoell's current coach feels similarly, explaining to Scout this spring what his versatile defender brings to the table.

"I think that he could, depending on if it's a 3-4 or a 4-3 scheme, play or 1 (technique) or a 3 or even play defensive end as a 5," said Curtis Guilliam. "He has a 4.85/40 time. This is a former basketball player that averaged over 20 points per game.

"Realistically he could play everywhere on a defensive line. He's got a real good chance to get out of here in December too for a four year school. He is going to take some summer courses to try and get on that schedule. Great kid too. Came here from Mt. Vernon (N.Y.) High School."

McDowell's highlights from Nassau CC are available below.


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