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Ras-I Dowling

University of Virginia


On track to graduate in sociology this December, Dowling will accomplish his goal of a college degree in 3 1/2 years. He is the first in his family to attend college and his dedication to academics has driven him to always be engaged in class, which he misses only for team travel. Dowling was projected as a second- to third-round pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, but he opted to return to the University of Virginia because it was very important to him to be the first person in his family to earn a college degree.


Voted a team captain by his peers, Dowling is an active member in his church and with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA). He’s also considered the “go-to-guy” when a teammate needs encouragement on or off the field, or if someone needs to go out into the community to represent Virginia football. After working with Dowling, new defensive coordinator Jim Reid said, “This is exactly what I know about him: That as a father, this is who you get down on your knees and pray that your daughter brings home someday. That is the type of character that he is. You would be so proud to call Ras-I Dowling your son, and I’ve told his family that.”


In addition to his routine guest speaking for FCA, Dowling participates in programs with local elementary schools. With ACE (Athletes Committed to Community and Education), Dowling visits Walker Upper Elementary on a weekly basis despite the program’s requirements of only appearing twice a month. The Allstate AFCA Good Works Team member also regularly goes into the community and speaks at area schools on a wide variety of topics, including the importance of academics. He has worked very hard to overcome personal shyness to be a public speaker because of his interest in addressing youth groups. Dowling has used some of his electives at Virginia to take public speaking courses that help him in this area.


Dowling enters his senior season on the Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Thorpe Award watch lists. In 2009 he earned his second-straight second-team All-Atlantic Coast Conference nod, anchoring the ACC’s No. 4 and the nation’s No. 21 pass defense. Dowling finished the season ranked No. 6 in the ACC in passes defended (11) and No. 11 in interceptions (three). He also averaged 3.4 tackles per game and had two tackles for loss. Dowling is a second-team College Football Insider preseason All-American.