Winchester (Va.) John Handley High School lost its first three games of the 2010 season, two of which to teams who would meet in the Virginia state finals, but junior Derek Dowrey helped lead a defense that would go 9-2 for the rest of the season, including an unprecedented run to the state semi-finals.
Dowrey visited Penn State twice this year.
“I was first-team all region on both sides of the ball, playing defensive tackle and offensive guard,” said Dowrey on Thursday night. “I felt it was a pretty good season.”
The junior racked up 145 tackles primarily playing nose guard, and 40 of those stops were recorded for a loss. He also had 10.5 sacks to go along with four forced and recovered fumbles over the 14-game season.
“When I first started my career I thought I was going to be an offensive player, but more recently I have really liked playing on the defensive side of the ball,” he said.
Dowrey was a repeat visitor in State College this past year, including two visits during the season and an appearance at the summer’s Penn State football camp.
“I went to the Michigan and Northwestern games during the season,” Dowrey said. “It was really awesome, I loved everything outside the stadium before the games, and I loved the atmosphere inside the stadium. It was just like nothing I have ever been to.”
When asked if he had a favorite, the answer was crystal clear.
“Penn State by far,” Dowrey chuckled. “I love everything about Penn State.”
The 6-foot-3, 280-pound nose guard said he talked to Bill Kenney after he came by his school last year, as well as when he visited State College, and felt those conversations were positive.
He is currently the starter at center for his school’s basketball team.