Name: Rico Dowdle
Position: Running Back
Height/Weight: 5'11" / 207 lbs.
Hometown: Asheville, NC
Rating: 247Sports: Four star Rivals: Three star ESPN: Three star
One of the first offers handed out by new head coach Will Muschamp and his staff in December, running back Rico Dowdle is expected to come in and immediately compete for carries. A Shrine Bowl selection with serious potential, Dowdle could yield early returns for the Gamecocks.
Strengths: Versatility, vision and speed. Though he played quarterback his senior year, Dowdle comes to Columbia strictly as a running back. On the ground, the A.C. Reynolds star accounted for 2,382 yards and 48 touchdowns, boasting an eye-popping 11.1 yards-per-carry. Through the air, he completed 64.7% of his passes for 1,211 yards and 10 scores. Dowdle’s size, versatility, vision and speed are all very reminiscent of former Gamecock WR and jack-of-all-trades Pharoh Cooper.
Weakness: Viewed as an incredible athlete and a talented playmaker, Dowdle lacked a true position in high school. Spending time at quarterback, wide receiver and running back, the Tar Heel State prospect may have a slight disadvantage in the running back pecking order - having to learn the nuances of the position while competing with others who may have strictly carried the ball in high school.
Overall: Can lightning strike twice for the Gamecocks? South Carolina fans certainly hope so. The similarities between Dowdle and Cooper hopefully don't end with their home states and multiple prep positions. Dowdle clearly possesses game-breaking talent and while it may take some time to develop due to his lack of running back experience, he could ultimately end up being the one of the biggest gets of the 2016 recruiting cycle.