Dante Dowdell: College Football Breakout Watch

Former four-star running back recruit Dante Dowdell has found a new home in Lincoln, Nebraska. Dowdell is transferring from the University of Oregon after having a small role with the Ducks as a true freshman in 2023. Dowdell is another piece of the Cornhuskers’ incoming recruiting and transfer class that includes five-star freshman quarterback Dylan Raiola, and expectations are building for Nebraska football in 2024.

Dowdell originally committed to Oregon after receiving multiple Power 5 offers including from Texas A&M, Mississippi State, Penn State and others. He was a highly-touted recruit as the ninth-ranked running back in his recruiting class. Dowdell played in the 2022 U.S. Army Bowl alongside fellow Oregon recruit Jurrion Dickey and 2022 U.S. Army Bowl MVP Avery Johnson. As the 11th-ranked running back in the 2024 transfer class according to 247Sports, Dowdell’s pedigree is only increasing ahead of his sophomore season.

Dowdell recorded just 17 carries for 90 yards and a touchdown as a freshman. Running backs Bucky Irving and Jordan James led the Ducks backfield with 1,593 and 891 scrimmage yards, respectively. Irving is NFL bound after his breakout season, and Jordan James looks set to lead the Oregon backfield in 2024 with Noah Whittington in the mix as well. With many more carries available in the Nebraska backfield, Dowdell looks set to become a lead running back for the first time in his collegiate career.

At 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Dowdell has the frame to become an offense’s three-down running back. He had limited game action as a freshman, but looked every bit of a future star at the Mississippi 5A level in 2022, leading his team to a perfect 15-0 record and state championship.

Nebraska boasts a top 25 overall combined recruiting and transfer class, and Dowdell represents one of the biggest potential impacts to the program in the group. He’ll have a chance to grow in head coach Matt Rhule’s offense alongside Raiola and the several offensive weapons that are returning to the program or joining the team next season.

Rhule is entering his second season as head coach at Nebraska after a 5-7 season in 2023. Landing Raiola and Dowdell in year two could be a crucial first step towards leading the Cornhuskers to a winning record for the first time since 2016.

With three years of eligibility remaining, and the foundation set for long-term success in the program, Dowdell is in a fantastic situation to grow as a player. He has a chance to develop into a top running back in the nation.

The new-look Big Ten is expanding from 14 to 18 teams in 2024, and the conference has undoubtedly separated itself from every conference in the nation outside of the SEC. Michigan will be returning as the reigning national champions, and the west coast power programs in Washington, Oregon, USC and UCLA will only be increasing the competitiveness of the conference overall.

Nebraska is a growing program, and his team will be relying on him for major contributions immediately in Lincoln. Rhule, Raiola, and Dowdell will all be expecting to elevate their team in 2024 and bring Nebraska back to national prominence.

Elijah Southwick is the lead sports content writer for Degen Magazine. His work has appeared in several news and sports publications.

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