Dowdy: 'I Can Just Focus on Football'

WAKE FOREST, N.C. -- In back-to-back weeks, Rickey Dowdy has been in the Raleigh area to witness and/or play the sport he loves.

In back-to-back weeks, Rickey Dowdy has been in the Raleigh area to witness and/or play the sport he loves. Last weekend, the High Point Central defensive end/linebacker watched NC State earn its first victory over William & Mary in what he called a "fun" and "exciting" outing.

But at Wake Forest-Rolesville on Friday night, Dowdy's night was not as fun, as Wake Forest-Rolesville handled High Point Central 28-6.

According to Dowdy, the score did not reflect the competitive nature of the game. High Point Central held Rolesville (3-1) to one score in the first half, before fatigue and turnovers helped the Cougars pull away for the win.

"Both teams made mistakes, but they just capitalized on the mistakes that we made and we didn't capitalize on theirs," Dowdy said. "Other than that, it was a good game—both teams fought… [Our] defense just got tired towards the end."

Though his team struggled in the game, particularly offensively, Dowdy's play reinforced why the Wolfpack offered a scholarship to the 6-foot-2, 225-pound defensive standout. On many possessions, he looked like a man amongst boys against a Rolesville team ranked No. 7 in the State by WRAL.com. Rated the No. 61 ranked defensive end in the class of 2009 by Scout.com, Dowdy unofficially collected 10 tackles in the contest, including four tackles for loss and two hard-hitting sacks.

According to High Point Central defensive coordinator Ken Helms, Dowdy is a "big part" of what his team does defensively.

"He has great athleticism and leadership," said Helms. "He leads by example; he's not real vocal, but he does his job and takes care of business on the field and off the field. He's a great student and a great kid and we're real happy to see him have the opportunity to go to State."

Dowdy said his commitment to NC State remains solid and that he is glad he can focus on improving his game without worrying about recruitment.

"It feels good because I don't have to worry about all the other coaches calling and sending stuff," he said. "I can just focus on football and schoolwork."

Helms said Dowdy's main strengths are his speed and athleticism, as he has the ability to turn the corner and pressure the quarterback while making plays sideline-to-sideline. His effort and heart are also never in question, Helms added. The one area Dowdy can improve is in building his strength and tenacity against blockers as he prepares for the more physical competition of Atlantic Coast Conference football.

"He's got a lot of agility; he's strong... he's just going to get better as he gets more physical," said Helms. "But he's got a great motor, so as he gets stronger that will come."

Helms also said Dowdy will strengthen as a player when he can settle into one position at the college level. For High Point Central, he has seen time at defensive end, defensive tackle, linebacker, on special teams, and even at tight end.

"When he goes to State, he'll probably get a little stronger, get a little more physical, and they'll work on his technique at [defensive] end."

Scouting Report: "There could be an interesting tug of war between defensive line coach Keith Willis and linebackers coach Andy McCollum to decide exactly where Rickey Dowdy will play once he arrives at NC State for the 2009 season.

"Physically, Dowdy has the potential to add considerable size to his 6-3, 220 pound frame which means he could ultimately project at defensive end down the road. However, on film, Dowdy is a player that plays extremely well out in space. With his long strides, he doesn't appear to be moving that fast until you notice that no one seems to be able to get away from him.

"Another impressive aspect is his discipline. He doesn't get himself out of position and because of that, puts himself in a position to make plays consistently. Dowdy has the explosiveness to play defensive end but is also rangy enough to get a look at LB as well.

"He could certainly end up being one of the steals in the class of ‘09." - Pack Pride Recruiting Analyst Steve Williams

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