- Radi Nabulsi, Reporter, DawgNation
ATLANTA -- Locust Grove (Ga.) safety Cortez McDowell hopes to renew a friendly rivalry with running back Corey Holloway (McDonough, Ga./Eagles Landing Christian) at the Rising Seniors Bowl game on Dec. 31. The two have met on the field before.
“We played against Corey Holloway this year and I laid a couple good hits on him,” McDowell said. “But then he would score past me after that. We would talk trash to each other because we both played both ways. When I was on offense as a receiver he was guarding me as a cornerback and we were talking junk to each other. I ran past him on a fly route and he said, ‘Man, you can’t make me look stupid on my own field.’ I told him to stop juking me out and embarrassing me and I would stop running past him.”
Few tailbacks get past the 6-foot-3, 200-pound defensive back. McDowell’s skills have earned him offers from Georgia, Georgia Tech, North Carolina, Mississippi State, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, NC State and Syracuse. He recently visited the Bulldogs for a junior day program.
“I spent a lot of time with the coaches, watched a great practice and listened to a couple guys talk about the academic program,” McDowell said. “They were saying that if you happen to go to the NFL you can come back and get your degree to have a better life if the NFL is not for you. It was just a great day up there. It was awesome.”
The highlight of McDowell’s visit to Georgia was spending time with secondary coach Scott Lakatos.
“He knows what he is talking about,” McDowell said. “That is why he is getting paid the bucks a lot of people wish they were getting paid. He didn’t say how many guys they wanted for my class, but Coach Lakatos did say that to be a defensive back at Georgia you have to be a talker. You have to speak well and interact. You have to be able to change the calls on the field in a matter of seconds. When I was up there for junior day, I witnessed it with Bacarri Rambo. He was the main one talking -- changing the calls in the backfield.”
McDowell got a chance to speak with Rambo and outside linebacker Jarvis Jones. Both told him to keep working hard and study the game. McDowell plans to take some lessons back home from his time at the Rising Seniors camp.
“I want to take some of the things I learn here back to Locust Grove to help my team out,” McDowell said. “I want to go into next year with a winning attitude.”
He also has some lessons he wants to teach.
“I want to prove that all safeties know how to hit and they can catch a football,” McDowell said. “Nobody likes to throw to the safeties; they would rather pick on the corners. But safeties can get the ball and take it the other way. I want to show that safeties are hard-hitters like linebackers and great cover guys.”
If McDowell has his way, he will demonstrate what safeties can do right after kickoff.
“I plan to have a couple big hits,” McDowell said. “Hopefully on the first play of the game -- and then on the second play.”
3dGreg Ostendorf and Alex Scarborough