The state of Georgia is always loaded with BCS caliber talent, and many have raved about the depth and quality of the 2013 class.
The 2014 class in the Peach State is also talent-rich, and one player that has quietly garnered a great deal of attention is Locust Grove safety Cortez McDowell.
The 6-foot-3, 200 pound defensive back is close to double-digit offers already, and says that he is very much enjoying the recruiting process at this point.
"Its going good. I've received eight offers," said McDowell. "It's just a blessing for me and my family just to know that I have a chance to play at the next level, and I just want to pursue what my childhood dreams were in getting to the next level."
All eight of those offers have come from schools in BCS conferences.
"I have offers from Syracuse, North Carolina State, North Carolina, Georgia, Georgia Tech, Ole Miss, Vanderbilt, and Mississippi State," he said.
McDowell, who stars on both sides of the ball for Locust Grove in addition to being a baseball prospect, acknowledges that while it is still early in the process, some schools are definitely coming at him harder than others at this time.
"The main ones that have recruited me harder than the rest are Vandy, Georgia, Georgia Tech, and North Carolina," said McDowell.
The junior standout took a visit to Athens on Saturday for Georgia's first Junior Day of the 2014 cycle, and came away impressed with a number of things within the Bulldogs' program.
"It (the visit) went good. I went up and met the coaches. We sat around and watched practice for the bowl game that is coming up. We watched a highlight video of the season," he said. "We listened to two guys there that are academy type guys who help the players stay on track with their grades. We listened to another guy that was kind of their community outreach guy. I think he played there and he came there with Coach (Mark) Richt when he came to UGA. He was telling us how they have program for community ours where they serve the community. They went to the church that day after practice. They went in their jerseys and handed out presents to so many kids at the church down the street there in Athens. Just how they bond with the community was great."
McDowell was offered by Georgia last month, but has been recruited by the Bulldogs for a while now and says that he has formed a solid relationship with a number of UGA coaches already.
"I've gotten to know the coaches really well," he said. "The coach I would be playing for if I went to Georgia would be Coach (Scott) Lakatos. He's a good guy. When I was up there, we had a chance to talk face to face and he asked me how I liked it up there. I told him that I loved it up there. Everything went good up there. Everything was organized. They show you what a top SEC school is like up there."
At this point in his recruitment, McDowell hasn't experienced very many campuses, but two visits have made a strong impression thus far.
"With Georgia, that was my first actual visit anywhere. It was my first visit to a junior day and I loved it," said McDowell. "The unofficial visit that stood out the most was the visit to Florida State with their game against Florida. You just see why they hate each other a lot down there. There were a lot of people there. There were guys everywhere and people chanting. It's really pretty down there. There is a lot down there that goes on Saturday for a game. It catches your attention a lot."
Due to the fact that the rising senior has flown under the radar a bit, many fans who follow recruiting don't know what McDowell brings to the table.
According to the 2014 prospect, he can defend against the run and the pass.
"I think I can do a little big of both," said McDowell when asked if he was more of a run stopping or coverage oriented defender. "I'm aggressive. I like to hit, but when I hit guys, I have to make sure they go to the ground. I don't hit and let them bounce off of me. I like to get very physical. I think I was one of the top five most physical guys on our defense, and I like to fly around and be aggressive. In the run game, I'm more of a strong safety because I like to fly around and go hit somebody. But when the quarterback drops back, I think I'm more of a free (safety) because I like to ball-hawk. I can play sideline-to-sideline. The coaches say they put me back there because I can cover sideline-to-sideline."
While many recruits are working to earn their first offer or trying to find a way to grab more offers, McDowell, who has no leader or timeline at this point, already knows what he is looking for when it comes time to choose a school.
"First, I'll worry about the academic part because I need to make the grades wherever I go," he said. "Second is the atmosphere of the place I'm at and if it reminds me of home or if I can be comfortable up there for the four or five years I'll be up there. If I can see myself around the people that are already up there and see if they are friendly people in a great environment or if it reminds me of my home."
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