MCGILL: Dowrey Earns Praise for Toughness
The Word on the Herd -- Dec. 14, 2017
By Chuck McGill
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. – Years ago, as a freshman without a career snap, offensive lineman Jordan Dowrey sat at the Marshall football team’s end-of-season banquet and his mind drifted to the future.
“I remember seeing all of the older guys getting those awards and wondering if that was going to be me someday,” said Dowrey, now a fourth-year junior.
Then, last Saturday, a week before Marshall readied to play Colorado State in this Saturday’s Gildan New Mexico Bowl here in sunny Albuquerque, Dowrey did not have to daydream any longer. His offensive line coach, Alex Mirabal, stood behind the podium and read the description for the Offensive Gridiron Gladiator Award, and then Mirabal called Dowrey’s name.
“That award, it suits me pretty well,” Dowrey said. “I’ve been through quite a bit with injuries and I’ve taken pride in the fact that I’m going to fight through them and keep playing. Unfortunately, I’ve had to put that to the test.”
Dowrey played the 2015 season with four herniated disks in his back. He had offseason surgery before spring drills in 2016, and sat out as he recovered. It was a slow, arduous journey, but Dowrey said he made a decision that has pushed him the past two seasons.
“I had the thought, ‘this might stop me from playing football,’ and then fear set in,” Dowrey said. “I decided I was going to walk away on my own terms. It wasn’t going to be an injury that stopped me from playing.”
Dowrey watched in 2016 as offensive linemen on each side of him were beset by injury. He started all 12 games, and then built his strength in the offseason so he could make 2017 a special year.
This season, Dowrey has started 11 of 12 games and played 599 snaps at left guard. He is the veteran on the line – he is the only junior alongside one sophomore and three freshmen – and has 35 starts to his credit entering the bowl game.
“There are some daily aches and pains,” Dowrey said. “I’m banged up right now. It is the 13th game of the season and everybody is banged up and sore. It’s not just on the field; it travels with you for the rest of the day.”
Dowrey exited the game at North Carolina State early with an injury, and missed the game the next week against Kent State. Since then, however, Dowrey has started nine consecutive games. He said the thoughts of giving up and avoiding the injuries is long gone.
“That kind of thing can’t help but cross your mind,” he said.
He has pushed those thoughts aside and earned the admiration of his teammates and coaches for his toughness. That is what made him a perfect choice for the team’s Gridiron Gladiator on offense.
“I always go back to him being 100-0 as a wrestler (in high school),” Mirabal said. “He’s just a tough kid. A tough guy. You’re talking about a guy who, when he came to camp here the summer before his senior year of high school, he was 16 years old and we didn’t really know who he was.
“But he busted his nose. He busted his lip in pass drills. He kept on going. That’s a tough kid.”