Hometown (School): Richmond, VA (Varina)
Height/Weight: 6'1" 200 lbs
Committed to Virginia: 11/10/13
Lead Recruiter: Tom O'Brien
Donovan Dowling is the latest Virginia recruit out of Varina, joining former teammates Tim Harris, Maurice Canady, Tyrell Chavis and fellow recruit Corwin Cutler. The Hoos have done well out of the Richmond school of late, with Harris and Chavis both coming in as 4 star recruits. Canady wasn't as highly rated, but he's been a mainstay in the Virginia secondary during his first 2 years and he's proven capable. Cutler is expected to join the Hoos and compete for the starting QB job this year after a post-grad year at FUMA.
Dowling, like Canady, isn't highly regarded by the recruiting services. Both Rivals and Scout rate him as a 2-star recruit, while ESPN gives him 3 stars and ranks him 210th out of WRs in the nation. He's completely under the radar. He's listed as an Athlete (ESPN lists him as WR), but most people see him on the offensive side of the ball. His most likely position is WR.
Dowling is a smart kid, with good grades. He's got good size, and that is his strength. He isn't particularly fast, although he's a long-strider and can build up momentum and get up to speed in the open field. He isn't a quick guy who is going to make a lot of one-on-one moves, but he has height and he can go up to get the ball. Case in point is the first play in the video below.
I can't find a highlight video of him, but below is the closest thing I could find. It's his higlights from being named player of the week in October of this past year. He catches a long TD pass over the defender by using his body and his height to grab the ball. He catches with his hands. I can't say I'm particularly happy with the way he's holding the ball during his interception return. That will be coached out of him.
The Hoos are fairly well stacked at WR. Dowling is big, but he's not as big as Kyle Dockins or Keeon Johnson or Caanan Severin. He's also not as fast as those guys. Dowling's best path to the field may be to bulk up and move to TE. He could certainly be a dynamic pass catching TE. I can't really see Donovan seeing the field much over the next couple of seasons, so there's no reason for him not to redshirt.