His dad, a Marine, is currently deployed, Dowling's contact with him limited primarily to Skype.
But last week, Dowling got to have a conversation with his father that he'll remember forever.
"I was selected to the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, but I didn't tell anyone because I wanted to tell my father first," said Dowling. My father is deployed right now, but I got to Skype with him and tell him."
For the son of a Marine, being selected to the game sponsored by the Marines meant the world to Dowling.
"It's a huge honor to be a Semper Fi All-American and the biggest honor is to represent the country and the Marines," said Dowling. "I was hoping that I was going to get invited. One of my goals in the offseason was to get invited to an All-American game and getting to accomplish one of my goals has me fired up. And for it to be the Marines game means a lot."
Dowling said that the final time he plays as a high schooler, his father will be in attendance at the Home Depot Center next January.
"He will be home for two weeks (at the end of December and beginning of January) and get to be at the game," said Dowling. "My family is going to be around for the game. He was actually a part of the MCRC (Marine Corps Recruiting Command), when they came up with the idea of the Semper Fidelis Bowl, but I never thought I'd have a chance to play in it. I still can't believe that I'm in it."
Dowling, who committed to UCLA in April, will enroll at UCLA the week after the Semper Fi Bowl.
In the meantime, he does plan to take two official visits to other schools, which has been his plan all along.
"My dad and my mom were both huge on me taking them, and one of the conditions of me committing early was that I took as many visits as we deemed necessary," said Dowling.
"And I'll definitely visit UCLA officially," said Dowling.
Dowling was selected the same week as fellow Bruin commit Erik Bunte.
"I actually hung out with Erik at UCLA's practice the day I committed and I'm really fired up he'll be playing in the game," said Dowling. "I can't wait to be his teammate at the All-American game and in the future at UCLA."
Dowling will play left tackle for Fallbrook this fall, and said when he gets to UCLA, he's open to play any position they ask.
"I'm a tackle, but I have no problem playing any position," said Dowling. "Any position I play, I will do my best."
This weekend, Dowling and Fallbrook will take on Spring Valley (Calif.) Mount Miguel in their opener.
Dowling said he will be at UCLA's home opener against Nebraska on September 8th.