The 90 Illini #54: Scott McDowell July 9, 2012
6′-3″, 280 lbs.
rs-Freshman (on scholarship, 4 years to play 4)
Hinsdale Central HS / Hinsdale, Illinois
ALE Ranking last year: #85
What I Know About Him:
Football recruiting rule #43: Offensive line recruiting is a crapshoot. Just look at our line the last few years. Four-star guys like Craig Wilson, Mark Jackson, and Leon Hill don’t pan out, while two-star guys like Jon Asamoah, Ryan Palmer, and Jeff Allen become mainstays. While “rankings don’t matter when it comes to OL” is never a strategy that should be counted upon, I think it’s true that offensive line is the hardest to evaluate on film (and even in person). Projecting what a 17 year-old kid will be like when he adds 55 pounds and spends three years in the weight room is a very difficult thing.
As such, it’s not a surprise that we’ve heard more about McDowell than Pat Flavin thus far. Flavin had the better offer list: Oregon, Cal, UCLA, etc. compared to only one other BCS offer for McDowell (Cincinnati). And Flavin was ranked higher on most of the recruiting sites. But listening to whispers from practice, at this point, McDowell is the one who is pushing the two sophomore tackles the hardest.
What I Expect From Him:
As I said when discussing Flavin, McDowell will play this fall, if for no other reason than we have no other options. We only have four true offensive tackles on the roster, and it’s likely that all four will play. For me, I’d always like to see a redshirt freshman like McDowell buried beneath four solid upperclassman tackles, learning the system and going against the first-string defense on the scout team. But we don’t have that luxury (unless Corey Lewis miraculously recovers from his third major knee surgery, but he hasn’t played a down since his ACL tear in the 2010 spring game, and I’m doubting he ever will again).
So with only one player in front of him on the depth chart, I think McDowell will find the field as our backup left tackle this fall. That’s probably two years too early, but we just don’t have any experienced depth. So it will be a crash course on the new blocking scheme, and then “Scott, I’d like you to meet John Simon of the Ohio State University Fightin’ Buckeyes – good luck!”