Sam Webb: Lets start off first looking back on the camp. How did it go for your boys?
Will Dowell: “They had a great camp at Michigan. My son Andrew was with the legendary Michigan Wolverine Mike Hart, and he had a great camp. Brady Hoke was very very (present) during the camp, and approachable. He took time out, took a little photo, and he came out and got around. He followed my other son David during the cornerback drills. David was with a Michigan recruit who got offered, Shaun Crawford… and I think David had an excellent morning. Shaun Crawford had an excellent afternoon. I think Coach Hoke took notice, so that made him feel good. In seven on sevens I think (Andrew and David) both did well. They got some good coaching tips. Just working with legendary Michigan players as such was very beneficial for them. In addition, one of the defensive backs that was working the camp was David Arnold, who’s from my alma mater, Warren G. Harding. So him and I go way back. He was a few years behind me, but I know him and know the things that he did at Michigan and with the Pittsburgh Steelers. That kind of thing was very beneficial.”
Sam Webb: I know David is pretty widely regarded as a receiver, but Michigan worked him out at corner. Is that a position that he’s going to play any this year?
Will Dowell: “Going forward, I think – David has been identified as one of the two way players at St. Edward High School. David is pretty versatile. When he was a freshman he started as a corner and a safety, depending on the circumstances… guys being injured and whatnot. But who does not like to score touchdowns, right? David is also in his and my opinion, an excellent wide receiver. They’ll put the best kids on the field most of the time, and David can play the cornerback position. So yeah, as we move forward he is taking notice that he has the skills to play corner. So as we’ve gone through the whole camp scenario, he’s camping at corner because he primarily played – exclusively played – wide receiver last year. In every practice he lined up at wide receiver, so he knows the wide receiver drills, hands down. But he has to really re-acquaint himself with all the cornerback drills, and what greater way to do that than doing that throughout the whole camp environment?"
Sam Webb: I know Andrew has really been turning a lot of heads. Refresh my memory on the season. I remember you telling me he got injured earlier in his career.
Will Dowell: “It was mid-way through the freshman year when the injury started to show itself, and they shut him down. He was the starting tailback on the freshman football team. Had he not been injured he probably would have had 30 or 40 varsity carries last year, and really would have really showed himself. But did not have the opportunity to do that. He had to take a step back, be patient, and get himself healthy. So he missed (virtually) the entire sophomore year except for the last three games of the season. They brought him in and brought him along slowly. They knew that he was the tailback of the future, they brought him in slowly. He played his first game back, he had about three or four carries in one JV game, and the first game he started was a JV game in which he scored three touchdowns; and then in the last game of the season. He scored three touchdowns. He has great hands and he can catch the ball out of the the backfield. They ran screen plays for him, he did a terrific job, and we beat St. Ignatius, our arch-rival, I think it was like 25-0. He was a big part of that. Then in the first playoff game, his only varsity carries, he had three carries for probably about 50 yards. So he had great film as a freshman, pulled through about five games. He has two JV games as a sophomore with three carries as a varsity player. Then we just hit the camp circuit this year because he knows what he can do."
Sam Webb: At this point, had either of them picked up any offers, and then what did Michigan say about their in interest in them?
Will Dowell: “Michigan didn’t talk in terms of offers, but I know every camp experience that they’ve had has been very very positive. As far as Michigan, the camp went very well. Our area recruiter, who is Coach Mattison, knows that they’re there, he likes them, and I think the big thing for David and Andrew is going to be the first four to five games of this coming fall, and just putting together some really good tape, and continuing doing what they’re doing.”
Sam Webb: I kind of ask this of every kid on Ohio. Did they grow up Buckeye fans?
Will Dowell: “I am an Ohio State University alum. But being the kids that they are, they’re looking at it from a completely different (perspective) – and I encourage that. (They’re looking at it) from a completely different lens. Going forward for them, it’s about navigating this entire landscape and figuring out what is the best fit for them. It’s a couple different things. They have to create the market for themselves, and I think they’re doing a really great job of that by getting out, opening eyes, getting guys to take notice, and developing relationships with the coaches, recruiting coordinators; I think they’re doing a good job of that.”
Sam Webb: Was it at all weird for you or them being on Michigan’s campus when you have such strong Ohio State roots?
Will Dowell: “No, not at all. We’re also Cleveland Browns fans / season ticket holders, but if I fast forward the clock and they’re graduating from college and getting ready to enter the draft… does the fact that we grew up Cleveland Browns fans have any impact at all on them wanting to play in the league? No, none whatsoever because you’re looking at it from a different lens. You’re not looking at it from a fan standpoint, you’re looking at it as being a part of the process. Right now, the fact is that I went (to Ohio State), graduated from there, and we like Ohio State… but it’s a different lens now. Not the mom and pop lens, but the lens of what’s going to be the best fit for you, academically and athletically, and they understand that because we’ve talked about those types of things.”