After meeting with Tennessee's coaches during a junior day visit on Saturday, McDowell could imagine a rather seamless transition if he became a Volunteer. McDowell spent a good portion of the visit to Knoxville, Tenn., learning the Tennessee defense from defensive backs coach Willie Martinez.
"It's similar to our defense in high school but there's a lot more components to it," the 6-foot-1, 190-pound safety from Locust Grove (Ga.) High said. "It wouldn't really be hard if I just studied the playbook."
When asked if he had any leaders, McDowell seemed to hint that the Volunteers might have surged to the front. "Everything is still even, but they have a nice edge right now," he said.
McDowell knows Martinez from when he coached at Auburn. Martinez recruited McDowell to be a Tiger, then immediately began recruiting him when he was hired by Tennessee.
"That's a big thing for me," McDowell said. "For the other coaches to jump on me right away is big. Most schools don't do that. That leaves a big impression."
It was the second time McDowell visited Tennessee. He also did so in February.
McDowell has 18 scholarship offers, and the competition for him will be fierce. Alabama and Georgia have both offered scholarships. The national champions and in-state Bulldogs will be tough to top.
McDowell has visited Alabama, South Carolina, North Carolina, Georgia and Georgia Tech in recent weeks. He's set to visit Vanderbilt this weekend, Auburn on March 30 and Florida State on April 13. McDowell said he'll narrow his list of schools this spring or summer.
McDowell should expect a call or two from a future Volunteer. Tennessee safety commitment Todd Kelly Jr. of Knoxville (Tenn.) Webb has vowed to help the Volunteers recruit. If Tennessee can land McDowell, they can have two of the top safeties in the 2014 class.