Jameel Dowling, a defensive back who transferred from Oregon, has two goals for his one season at Hawaii: get his sociology degree and play football well enough to set himself up for a professional career.
Warriors’ Dowling walks without the talk
As low as his defensive stance is, Jameel Dowling prides himself on keeping an even lower profile.
The 6-foot-3, 205-pound senior cornerback has just one year to make an impact with the Warriors after transferring from Oregon prior to last season, so Dowling figures there's no time to waste in impressing the Hawaii coaching staff.
No time for idle banter on the football field, either.
"I'm here for really two things, that's to get my degree and try to play football to get to the next level," said Dowling, a 23-year-old sociology major set to graduate in the fall. "To me, it's more of a business thing, understanding probably because I'm a little older, too. I've been around, and I just basically know why I'm here and what I gotta do. I think that's probably why I'm quiet -- I don't worry about it that much."
Dowling's actions have spoken for him with spring practice in its stretch drive. While splitting time with JoPierre Davis and Calvin Roberts at right corner, he's amassed six interceptions during team drills. His play caught the eye of coach Greg McMackin, who is high on Dowling's amazingly low posture.
"Oh yeah, he's gotta play somewhere," McMackin said. "He's too good to have on the bench.
"He's so coachable, and it impresses me that he plays so low, being so tall," he added. "The thing is, too, his height takes so much away from people -- they can't get the ball over him. Plus, he's got the speed to run with them (4.4- to 4.5-second 40-yard dash)."
His fellow defensive backs, particularly the talkative Keao Monteilh, are amazed by both his posture and his reserved personality.
"He gets so low in his back pedal, it's amazing," Monteilh said. "His technique is so good, and it surprises us because he's so tall."
As for wealth of characters found in the secondary, Dowling's like a mime trapped in a room with a bunch of stand-up comedians.
"We got me and (Ryan) Mouton; I think Mouton's part Portagee he talks so much," Monteilh said. "Then we have Jameel, who's mute, he doesn't talk. So I make a call (on the field) and he just nods at me, and I'm like, 'Did you get the call, Dog?'"
A good time for Dowling, a Tacoma, Wash., native, is "going to Fun Factory" or spending quality time with his girlfriend, Melissa.
After two all-conference years at Butte (Calif.) College and playing in 11 games in his junior season at Oregon, he transferred out because he felt pressure from the Ducks' coaches to return from a severe ankle injury before it fully healed; Dowling thought it could have damaged his long-term prospects for pro football.
"Me not being 100 percent, my stay (there) wouldn't really help me," Dowling said. "Fall camp was already coming around, and I'm still in a boot and still in crutches. There's no way I was going to be ready."
He was impressed with secondary coach Rich Miano, who called him, and the NFL rsums of June Jones and McMackin, then the head coach and defensive coordinator, respectively.
It was an easy decision for him to further his career, but he misses his 4-year-old daughter, Jalaina (back in Washington) the most. He flies back to see her when he can and brought her to Hawaii during Halloween.
"She liked it a lot. The beach, the water, some things she'd never seen," Dowling said.
The versatile corner -- he can also play free safety if called upon -- could see some extensive play in the Warriors' dime and nickel packages, even if he doesn't lock up a full-time starting job. Two junior college DBs arrive in the summer, adding to an already deep field at the position.
"We've solidified," McMackin said. "Both times I've been here (1999 and 2007) we've been really shallow at corner. But (now) we have some physical, fast corners that can hit you. So we've really helped ourselves out there."
Keep your eyes on the field this fall, because you won't hear Dowling coming.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
An incorrect photo originally ran in this story; the photo was of Jon Medeiros. Dowling’s photo now appears appears at the top of this page.