Asheville (NC) Reynolds standout athlete Rico Dowdle was a late addition to North Carolina's Shrine Bowl roster, and he is grateful for the opportunity.
"It's been a great experience," he said after a recent practice. "I'm down here meeting new people, facing tough competition. It's a once and a lifetime experience for us seniors. We're making great memories with each other."
Dowdle was a recruiting unknown entering his senior year but his breakout season led to new offers and opportunities. Lining up mainly at quarterback, he led Reynolds to an impressive 11-2 record and along the way amassed 2,382 yards rushing and 48 touchdowns. Dowdle also completed 90 of 140 passes for 1,211 yards and an additional 10 touchdowns.
The 6-foot, 200-pound speedster can play multiple positions on the next level, and that's the role he'll fill this week.
"Well, down here I'm playing some running back but they have me in the slot too," he said. "It's a lot like what I'll probably do on the next level."
Dowdle holds offers from NC State, Wake Forest, and Boston College, and he reportedly added an offer this week from South Carolina. North Carolina and Tennessee are expressing major interest.
Where position does those schools see him playing?
"A few colleges, just like down here," he said. "Chapel Hill wants me to play running back and slot like Switzer and NC State wants me to play like Nyheim Hines plays, and that's slot and running back. Tennessee, South Carolina, and Wake Forest are recruiting me just to play running back."
So far, he's only taken one official visit and that was a couple of weeks ago to NC State.
"It was great," he said. "State has nice coaches... nice people. I liked the players up there. It was a place where I can see myself playing the next four or five years of college."
Because his recruitment picked up during his senior year, Dowdle is not looking to rush and make a decision. The NC State coaches were receptive of his plan when he informed them of his thought process.
"I told State that I want to see what happens with these other schools before I decide," said Dowdle. " It's not like they are pressuring me or anything. I'm originally from South Carolina so I want to see what happens with them, and then Tennessee, it's close to where I live now and it seems like it would be a great place to be.
"They actually said the same thing. They told me to take my time... that's what coach Doeren and coach Uremovich said. I told them I wanted to enjoy the process a little bit, and coach Doeren said that's fine, just commit when I'm ready because when you commit somewhere you're committed."
Several factors will come into play when Dowdle sets down to finalize his decision.
"I'm looking for playing time," he said. "I want to go where I can get on the field, and I also want to go where I'll be happy. I could get an injury and football could be taken away from me so I need to be where I'll be happy.
Also it's about the education. It's not just a four-year decision it's a 40-year decision."
Does Dowdle have a timeframe in mind?
"I'm hoping to be committed by the beginning of January or the middle of January," he said.null