Tuesday was the first day for the offensive lineman and defensive lineman to strap up the pads and start hitting at The Opening.
Covington (La.) High defensive tackle Garrald McDowell was forced to watch from the sideline due to Louisiana rules prohibiting it.
“Because I’m from Louisiana we aren’t allowed to wear pads in the summer so I wasn’t able to put them on,” McDowell said. “But it was great competition out here and I had a few good pass rushes. The bull rush is one of my weapons and my coach always tells me that if they can’t stop it, than keep doing it.”
The 6-foot-3, 257-pound McDowell visited Florida during Will Muschamp’s camp and plans to return this fall.
“I haven’t really talked to Florida much since the camp,” McDowell said. “But I’m going to get back down there for an official visit this fall. I’m going to pick a date and a game and go down there.”
Right now, McDowell says he is focusing in on five schools and knows where he will take his official visits.
“My top 5 schools are LSU, Florida, Alabama, Ole Miss and Arkansas,” McDowell said. “It’s in no order and I don’t have a leader. I plan on taking my official visits to those five schools.”
For McDowell, he has grown close to New Orleans native and Florida tight end coach, Derek Lewis.
“I talk to coach Derek Lewis the most from Florida,” McDowell said. “He is always talking to me and we have become real close. He is always asking me how my family is doing and stuff like that. We don’t even talk about football much.”
McDowell says he is still a long way away from making a choice, but he knows what he is looking for from the school he chooses.
“First I’m looking at the depth chart at the school,” McDowell said. “Academics is also important and who has the best defensive line coach to help teach me my position and help me get better on the field.”
McDowell says that Florida fits the bill for all of those factors, but the Gators would like to see him add 20 pounds to his frame.