Dowling coming home to play for Nevada
There’s no place like home.
After sampling basketball and football junior colleges in Southern California, South Tahoe High graduate Casey Dowling is coming home to play wide receiver for the University of Nevada.
Dowling, a third down and passing situation receiver for Moorpark College in Moorpark, Calif., will officially sign to walk on with the Wolf Pack on Friday. He’ll have three years of eligibility remaining.
“Playing receiver at UNR is equivalent to playing linebacker at Penn State. They have the top receiver in the country almost every year,” said the 6-foot-4, 200-pound Dowling. “Growing up in Northern Nevada I thought it would be nice to play there. I considered it out of high school, but it wasn’t a serious consideration.”
Learning the Pack offense should be a snap for Dowling. The Pack, who retained offensive coordinator Chris Klenakis with the hiring of new head coach Chris Tormey, run the same spread offense Dowling thrived in at South Tahoe.
“It’s been beautiful for me in the past. Once I get the chance to prove myself there, it should be a tremendous opportunity,” said Dowling, who led all of Nevada with 57 receptions, 857 yards and nine touchdowns as a senior.
With the Feb. 2 national letter of intent day nearing, Klenakis wasn’t available for comment. However, his former coach at STHS, Tim Jaureguito, was pleased that Dowling was furthering his collegiate career near his prep fan base.
“All along he has proven to have good hands and size,” said Jaureguito, who now has three former players at the Division I level. “Coming out of high school his speed was the only thing holding him back. As a walk-on he needs work hard and prove himself. It’s going to take time and he has to be patient. If he’s patient and does all the things they ask him to do, he can do it.”
The 21-year-old Dowling, who helped lead the Vikings into the state basketball semifinals as a senior, began his collegiate career in 1998 at Cuesta Junior College. But after receiving limited playing time on the hardwood early in the season, Dowling transferred to Moorpark with designs on resuming his football career.
Because Dowling made the transfer early in his freshman season, he was granted two years of football at Moorpark. But Dowling only used last fall as a proving ground to see if he could play at a higher level.
“It’s somewhat overwhelming to think that all of those basketball practices and all the work that I put toward basketball, to think that I’m going to be blessed with this tremendous opportunity to play in the Western Athletic Conference in front of 30,000 people,” Dowling said.
Considering Dowling played behind Moorpark lethal weapon Shane Sobel, an honorable mention JC All-American who led the country with 18 touchdown receptions, his 20 catches were acceptable to all – but Dowling.
“I played a lot, and I think that helped me in recruiting,” said Dowling, who also considered UNLV, Sacramento State and UC-Davis. “UNLV likes that I’m a big, physical receiver who can block. But the real difference for me now than from when I was in high school is that I improved my speed.”
Extensive leg weight training last summer enhanced his speed.
“I hadn’t done a lot of of serious leg work with the weights, and that I was really beneficial. I also ran a lot and really learned how to form run,” Dowling said.
Dowling is the third player from the area in the past eight years to make the grade at Nevada. He follows linebacker Mike Crawford, a 1992 Whittell High grad, who went on to play with the NFL’s Miami Dolphins; and WHS alum Chris Witte, a onetime reserve receiver for the Pack.
Notes: Jaureguito currently has three ex-players with Division I programs. Besides Dowling, Corey Martin is a redshirt walk-on linebacker at Wisconsin and 6-7, 295-pound Jeff Cheek, is a redshirt junior offensive lineman, at Boise State.
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