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DJ Dowdy: An Appreciation

A tip of the cap to an underappreciated piece of the last four years.

NCAA Football: Cincinnati at Purdue Sandra Dukes-USA TODAY Sports

The Career Numbers

  • 44 receptions
  • 190 yards
  • 5 touchdowns
  • 8.3 yards per reception

A new offense under Zac Taylor could have meant big things for DJ Dowdy. Although a clear gameplan was not apparent before the season started, Dowdy was entering his senior season this past fall with some expectations, a rarity for a Cincinnati tight end since Travis Kelce left. He was put on the preseason John Mackey Award (the trophy given for best tight end) watchlist after accumulating 104 yards and three touchdowns on only 12 receptions as a junior. The logic behind the speculation was somewhat sound. UC was losing a host of pass-catchers and with questions at quarterback, there needed to be certainty on the other end of passes. Dowdy certainly presented that, as he was and still is a big target. A 6’4”, 250-pound blocking and receiving threat, Dowdy showed in 2015 he can be a real red zone weapon.

However, as the UC offense circled the drain all season, Dowdy failed to work into a meaningful role as a receiver, finishing with only 44 yards on four receptions despite playing in 12 games. However, while those totals are far from spectacular, its worth noting that he turned half of his receptions into touchdowns and you can’t knock a guy for bringing his lunch pal to every game.

Dowdy, a former three-star prospect who was recruited as a wide receiver, may not have had the most memorable run as a Bearcat, but he was a stalwart on the roster, playing in 49 games across four seasons, including 11 starts as a senior.

The Best of the Best

Oct. 24, 2015 vs. UConn

In easily the best game of his career, Dowdy hauled in a 26-yard touchdown pass and finished with a personal best 55 yards receiving.

Sept. 10, 2016 at Purdue

Its difficult to make a big deal about one catch, but Dowdy’s 20-yard touchdown reception against the Boilermakers was an exciting offensive play during a season of very few.

A Final Goodbye

Its too bad Dowdy didn’t have one year left of eligibility. Under Luke Fickell and reported offensive coordinator Mike Denbrock, he might have been given the opportunity to be a star. After all, while at Notre Dame, Denbrock coached 2011 Mackey Award finalist and fantasy football dynamo Tyler Eifert as well as 2010 preseason All-American Kyle Rudolph, both tight ends who have gone on to have successful professional careers.

Even if that’s not the path Dowdy will walk on, he still deserves a tip of the cap for grinding it out every day as a Bearcat, regardless of what attention he was or was not getting.