Lowery Now Impresses at Defensive Tackle

Paterson Catholic (N.J.) head coach Benji Wimberly still gets questions from college recruiters about whether or not Jarel Lowery could still play tight end. The answer is yes, but at 6-foot-4, 275 pounds and growing, Lowery will be one of the most sought after defensive tackles in the recruiting class of 2008.

Notre Dame is very interested, flooding the mailbox along with Rutgers, Miami, Iowa, Ohio State and Michigan.

"And a couple more," Lowery said.

"Florida, Georgia, (Virginia), a little bit of everybody has been contacting," Wimberly stated.

Lowery's junior season didn't go as originally anticipated. He was the returning starter at tight end for the defending state champions. He was expecting a bigger role at defensive end, after playing spot duty as a sophomore. Colleges across the country were interested in him as a tight end. He was ready to really bust out.

Then in August, Wimberly approached Lowery and told him that after analyzing what personnel the team had, it would be better if he moved to defensive and offensive tackle. Back in June, Lowery shocked everybody by weighing in at 275 pounds, even though he appeared to be much smaller. Muscle outweighs fat, and that was certainly the case here, and that's what originally sent this solution in motion.

"Since we were short on the offensive line, we needed bigger and stronger people, so I could help out the running game," Lowery said. "I was pretty good on defense. I was a good run stopper, and I had a couple a sacks this year."

Lowery had 50 tackles including six sacks and three forced fumbles, helping Paterson Catholic get back to the state championship game. He played a little defensive end, but with Rutgers commit Al-Ghaffar Lane and classmate and Division-I recruit Doug Alston at the ends, Lowery's services weren't really necessary.

"We put the bigger stronger guy inside," Wimberly explained. "He never wavered. He did a great job. He is a big athletic defensive tackle. A type of guy that can clog the a-gap and get up field."

Lowery was able to get down the field as a tight end. Paterson likes to pound the football, but college coaches saw enough from Lowery's four receptions for 55 yards and two touchdowns as a sophomore, to consider him a top recruit. Obviously he could block as well.

"Some schools ask if he can still play tight end," Wimberly said. "He could lose 10-15 pounds and still play tight end. He can go vertical and catch the ball. He is a legit 6-4, 6-4-and-a-half now. The passes he caught showed how athletic he was. He caught a couple of seams, and two of the four were for touchdowns."

Lowery learned to react to the center and the ball being snapped. He learned swim moves, spin moves, things to beat the center and guard into the backfield. How learned to read the play based off what the guards and center were doing before the snap.

"It was pretty fun for me since it was something new I hadn't been used to," Lowery said. "I thought I did pretty well."

Colleges thought so also, as most are recruiting him to play defensive tackle now. Lowery doesn't have any offers yet, but will probably start getting them soon. He has only attended one combine, this past summer, the Elite College Combine in nearby Randolph, N.J.

Lowery reports a 4.8 40-yard dash, 295-pound bench press, 600-pound squat and 4.7 shuttle. He has attended a couple Rutgers games, and would like to check out Notre Dame sometime. He watched the Irish on television quite a bit, paying attention to Derek Landri and Trevor Laws.

"I like their coaching staff," Lowery said. "I liked the defense they did run. I like coach (Charlie) Weis and his game plans and stuff. I like a lot of things I've heard about the school. The only game I was mad about was when they lost to USC. I was really into that game.

"If there is a camp at Notre Dame, I'll try and get up there. I'll go to close schools for camp at the moment, like (Connecticut), Penn State and places like that."

An Irish assistant stopped by the school before the season, but Lowery doesn't remember who it was.

Paterson Catholic lined up mostly in a 4-3 defense, and sometimes a 5-2, but Lowery wouldn't be against playing in the 3-4 on the next level.

"I'd be interested in that because I would love to learn something new. I would look into that a lot."

That has already been proven.

"I think he is a Notre Dame type kid," Wimberly said. "I think he has the character they're looking for. I think he is a Penn State, Boston College, Notre Dame type kid. Excellent student (3.2 GPA), and that doesn't hurt at all."

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