Indiana nabs one from the bayou

One of the most unheralded defensive backs in the South is East Jefferson's Fernandez McDowell (6-3, 205, 4.5) and he gave Indiana coach Gerry Dinardo a big commitment for the Class of 2003 shortly after he returned from his official visit to the Bloomington campus.

McDowell is rated No. 28 among the nation's best safeties by but his future is at cornerback due to his outstanding size and speed. Colorado was considered the team to beat early on but former LSU coach Gerry Dinardo convinced him that Indiana was more attractive.

"I committed when I was on my visit in early December," McDowell told Tiger Rag. "I like the environment, the coaches and the players. The coaches told me I could get some early playing time there and I grew up a fan of the Big 10."

McDowell said he never met Dinardo during his stay at LSU but he followed the Tigers closely over his five-year stay in Baton Rouge. LSU recruited him in the beginning of his recruiting process but the Tigers backed off and that gave Dinardo all the room he needed to secure his pledge.

"That was one of the main reasons I committed to Indiana," said McDowell. "I wanted to get the experience of playing under coach Dinardo. I know he is a great head coach and I am pretty excited."

It looks like Dinardo is still reaping the benefits of his tenure on the bayou.

Sonny's View: Some feel like McDowell could grow into a linebacker but they question whether or not he has the speed and quickness to play cornerback in one of the nation's toughest conferences. Louisiana had a deep pool of talent at defensive back for 2003 and that is a big reason the Tigers never offered McDowell.

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