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What Would Dante Dowdell Bring To The Nebraska Cornhuskers?

Dante Dowdell

Could the Nebraska Cornhuskers add a running back commit to their recruiting class? It’s certainly possible.  The program has a good chance to make a good impression on former Oregon running back Dante Dowdell on January 5th. If Nebraska head coach Matt Rhule and his staff do manage to gain his services, he would be the first transfer portal commit of the Cornhusker’s 2024 recruiting class. But first, let’s see what he would bring to a roster filled with battered Cornhusker running backs.

 High School Resume

While down at Picayune Memorial High School in Mississippi, Dowdell had an incredible career. According to 247Sports Brian Christopherson, the former four-star recruit finished his senior season by rushing for 2,165 yards and 31 touchdowns on 8.3 yards per carry. And in 2021, he won the MaxPreps Mississippi Player of The Year Award. He did this as a junior when he would run for more than 2,500 yards per carry. All told, the former Oregon Duck finished his high school career with an astonishing total of  5,301 yards and 65 touchdowns on only eight yards per carry. For the Huskers, this early production is a great sign. But there is still a big concern.  How long will it take for running backs coach EJ Barthel to fully bring into Marcus Satterfield’s offense? It should be one of the key factors that will impact his visit with the Nebraska Cornhuskers.

Learning From  Veterans

Under Oregon Ducks running backs coach Carlos Locklyn, Dowdell played second fiddle to junior running back Bucky Irving. And this was for a good reason. On just 172 carries, the veteran back rushed for 1,503 yards and ten touchdowns last season. But that doesn’t mean that Dowdell also didn’t have an impact. In fact, it was quite the opposite.  In just six games as a true freshman under offensive coordinator Will Stein, he rushed for 90 yards and one touchdown on just 17 carries. Can he bring this skillset to Nebraska? With three years of eligibility remaining, it’s certainly possible. But to do so, he would have to learn from the talent in that room already. At the beginning of the past two seasons, Gabe Ervin was NU’s leading rusher before his injuries derailed him. And Rahmir Johnson had some great moments as well in his career in a Husker uniform.  But his most recent one? It came in the first game of the Rhule era at Nebraska. Against Minnesota, he ended up returning a kickoff 66 yards. Is this enough for the coaching staff to guarantee him a starting spot over  Dowdell? Or will he still be recovering from his injury? It’s an answer that we won’t know until fall camp rolls around.

Read more about Gabe Ervin’s story in Which Of Nebraska’s Running Backs Will Make An Impact This Spring? 

A Revamped Offense In 2024

In 2023, Satterfield’s offense was a constant liability for the program. According to Sports Reference, the program only scored an average of 12 points per game, leading the offense to suffer with a ranking well into the bottom of college football at 102. But in 2024, it is easy to see how the Big Red will look to improve their play-calling struggles. According to On3, the team finished with the 22nd recruiting class. And one of the crown jewels of this haul? Five-star legacy quarterback Dylan Raiola.  It’s a significant development that was college football fodder in the early signing period. Particularly since the team hadn’t landed that type of player since 2008, on the other hand, the offensive line should be better.  Coach Donovan Raiola just got a  raise this December, which allowed the program to give more incentive to Iowa lineman Grant Brix to sign with NU, as well as gain the services of the number one player in Hawaii Preston Taumua. With a talented freshman beside him and senior Bryce Benhart returning to the fold, why wouldn’t Dowdell be excited to forge his own legacy in Lincoln? It’s something that he will have to think about during his visit weekend.

Dante Dowdell
Photo Credit: Jeff Hanisch-USA TODAY Sports


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