CN Breakdown: Devin McDowell

In a season where he had been seriously injured, Devin McDowell of the Garland Owls has made it back to the playing field under the so-called Friday Night Lights. McDowell performed well in a special Thursday night version against the Owls' cross-town rival South Garland Colonels.

Devin McDowell was injured earlier in the year with a bruised sternum in the DeSoto game, which the Owls lost 56-50 in a five overtime classic. This injury was complicated with him coughing up blood later in the week, so he missed two games in the non-district schedule. However, he has made it back to the gridiron, and he is showing why he may be one of the fastest players in the state of Texas.


After an easy victory over Garland Naaman Smith, the South Garland game was expected to be a fierce battle. It didn't disappoint. An error-prone first half turned into a chippy affair in the second half with several personal fouls on both sides of the field. But it was McDowell who scored the winning touchdown with just over six minutes left in the game to lead the Owls to a 21-14 victory over the Colonels.


It is a challenge to watch a player in the Garland program because of the player rotation that Coach Jeff Jordan utilizes. He has so many skill players that he will play them one or two series, and then he will take them out for a couple of series. In McDowell's case, he plays on both sides of the ball, so you don't have a lot of chances to get a true evaluation of his skills. But there is one trait that you can see that he has: speed.


This was shown in the second quarter on the defensive side of the ball. McDowell has made the transition from safety to cornerback, and he was in man coverage against a wide receiver. The receiver ran a crossing pattern, and he had a step on McDowell about eight yards down the field. But Devin kicked it into overdrive and made the step up within a few strides and dove in front of a good pass. He made a good case to the referee that he made the interception, but it was to no avail. However, watching the replay, it looked like he may have actually made the pick. But it was the great burst of speed that impressed everyone.


Most of the night, the Colonels stayed away from McDowell's side of the ball. Their sophomore quarterback actually had a very good night with some great passes down the middle of the field, but they primarily worked the opposite side of the field.

In a third quarter kickoff return, McDowell caught the kick around the 20 yard line, started to the right and then found a small seam up the middle. He zipped right through the opening and almost busted it for a score, but an ankle tackle around the 40 kept him from going all the way. He showed some impressive speed going through that seam.


On the offensive side of the ball, he was able to pick up a few blitzes and made some other blocks from a wing position. He usually lined up in the wing position of a veer offense. He did whiff on a few blocks also, but none of them were detrimental to the team. One block that stood out was late in the third quarter when he took out a cornerback at the ankles. The block would spring the Owls' 5-foot-4, 150 pound running back on a long run. It was like Mini Me with wheels. The little man was probably their best running back of the night because of several fumbles by other backs earlier in the game. He would hit the hole hard, and he was very elusive. He was probably the smallest running back that I've ever seen.


After South Garland came back and tied the game up at 14, the stage was set up McDowell to score the winning touchdown. On third and 10 at the Colonels' 18 yard line, he lined up in the wing position. The quarterback faked the handoff to the running back going to the right, and then he gave the ball to McDowell as he crossed just in front of them, ala the Washington Redskins' counter trey. McDowell went right up the middle with the ball. Two South Garland players had a chance to make a tackle, and they each had a decent angle on him. But McDowell made a high step as they each dove for him, and he cruised into the end zone for the go ahead score.


McDowell finished the game with six carries for 26 yards and the one touchdown, but he is not being recruited for his running back skills. He will definitely be used on the defensive side of the ball, and he may be a viable option for a kick or punt returner with his speed. He has a slight build at 5-foot-10 and 175, but a long redshirt year of weights and the training table may very well help him like his older brother, DeAndre Jackson.


On another potential recruit, there is a junior named Malcolm Williams that also plays for the Owls. He is a 6-foot-1, 195 pound receiver/cornerback who made some impressive plays in the spring game, and he has made an impact this season. In fact, he was responsible for two forced fumbles in the South Garland game. He should also run the opening leg of the sprint relays for the Owls in the upcoming track season, so he does have some wheels, too. He will be a player to watch on the recruiting scene for next year.


Texas Rumor Mill: Since we play the Horns the next two years, I heard some rumblings about a couple of their blue-chip recruits. It seems that Texas has pulled their scholarship for Emmanuel Moody, supposedly the best running back in the state of Texas this year. Supposedly, he has been spending some time with USC, and the Longhorns have decided that they don't like him doing that.


Also, rumor has it that he has been in touch with Sergio Kindle, a top five recruit from Dallas Woodrow Wilson that I watched play last fall. Supposedly, Moody is trying to talk Kindle into giving up his verbal commitment to Texas and go to USC with him. But it sounds like Kindle is still a solid pick for the Longhorns, and he will be a load at linebacker for them in the future.

AllCyclones Top Stories