Virginia senior defensive back Ras-I Dowling is getting lots of attention this pre-season. Dowling, the best player on UVA’s squad, has been named to three significant award watch lists this pre-season.
Dowling was most recently named to the Chuck Bednarik Award watch list. The award is given each year by the Maxwell Football Club to the nation’s best defensive college football player.
He has also been named to the Bronco Nagurski and Jim Thorpe Award watch lists. The Nagurski award is given the nation’s best defensive player and the Thorpe award is given each year to the nation’s best defensive back.
Dowling is the face of Virginia’s team and is considered by many to be a candidate to be an All-American. Last year the team’s defensive unit was ranked 52nd or worse in the nation each area (scoring defense, run defense, etc.) except pass defense. They were ranked 23rd in the nation and Dowling is the biggest reason why.
Some might feel that Dowling was snubbed by not being named a pre-season All-ACC. (Ahem, I’m looking at you Charlottesville’s daily newspaper…it’s called The Daily Progress for those interested.) I don’t think it’s a big deal he wasn’t named All-ACC this pre-season. The two guys named to the team at cornerback are Miami’s Brandon Harris and North Carolina’s Kendric Burney. Harris and Burney were first team All-ACC last year (Dowling was 2nd team.) They are also on most publications pre-season All-ACC teams and even a few pre-season All-American teams. Dowling is considered to be the next best defensive back in the conference after those two guys, and is also considered by some to be more NFL ready.
Truthfully, pre-season awards and watch lists are all semantics. The fact is he is an outstanding player and is one thing the Cavaliers coaching staff has to worry about.
Because with their current issues at quarterback, receiver, linebacker, punter….well, they have plenty to worry about.
About the Author
Written by Gabriel Rodriguez
Born in Germany, early childhood in NYC, raised in the D.C. area, currently reside in Charlottesville, VA. Big fan of the NY Giants and San Antonio Spurs.