Slimmed down Lowery rakes in the offers

Antwan Lowery, 6-foot-4, 330 pounds
ESPN 150 Watch List defensive tackle
Miami-Columbus High School

2009 defensive tackle prospect Antwan Lowery slimmed down so he could blow up.

The Miami Columbus rising senior has become one of the hottest defensive line prospects in the country over the past few months. The 6-foot-4, 330-pound defender has more than 20 offers from programs nationwide, but arriving at this point was no guarantee. Lowery finished his junior season with no offers, receiving his first during the second semester of his junior year from N.C. State.

The journey to this point started during his sophomore season, during which he was a member of the varsity but played sparingly. At around 340 pounds, he was too big to get the most out of his talent. His coach, Chris Merritt, pulled him aside after the season and told him he needed to cut weight if he wanted to play. Lowery heeded the warning.

"It was time for me to wake up because if I didn't drop the weight I knew I wouldn't be able to perform to the best of my abilities," he said.

Lowery cut more than 25 pounds between his sophomore and junior years and ended up starting as a junior. His play greatly improved; he displayed quickness off the ball, a good motor and the ability to be a disruptive presence. As scouts came through they were impressed with his level of play, his slow start igniting into big-time recruitment.

"Cutting the weight really helped me to get where I am now," he said.

With the attention the newly stealthy Lowery has received, he now has a new obstacle to overcome -- where to play. He lists six early favorites: Miami, Florida, Florida State, Clemson, Auburn and Rutgers. The hometown Hurricanes are likely stiff competition, but the latter school offers a family connection. Rutgers is where Lowery's older brother Antonio is a sophomore linebacker. The Scarlet Knights are firmly in the mix, but the younger brother will tell you he is not getting any pressure from his older sibling, just advice.

"He just told me follow my heart and whatever I believe in," Antwan Lowery said.

While the big defender may have a handful of schools he is closely eyeing, he doesn't plan to announce his decision until after the 2008 season. At this point, he is taking the recruiting process one day at a time.

"I am still working hard, not letting my teammates down because this recruiting thing can get to a person's head and you can get big-headed, but not me," he said.

Trimming things down is what helped put Lowery in this position, so it's easy to believe this highly sought-after recruit can also keep his ego in check.

Lowery's Scouts Inc. Evaluation
Lowery has good size and the tools to be a disruptive presence. He appears to carry his weight well, and he has a consistently exceptional get-off for a big man.

Often gets into gaps before an offensive lineman can get a good shot on him. His explosiveness allows him to get into opposing backfields and alter or blow up plays. Has the size to take on and hold his ground against single- and double-team blocks but needs to pay closer attention to his pad level. Sometimes gets a little lax and will play upright. Excels with his hands and can shed effectively. Runs fairly well and has adequate change-of-direction skills. Plays with a good motor, hustles to the ball and makes some effort plays. Has the lateral mobility to move between the tackles while staying square.

Has the initial quickness to be a threat in passing situations. Can simply beat his man off the ball to get in a quarterback's face or get low and bull rush a blocker. Shows the ability to execute a quick swim move to work past a blocker.

With a nice blend of size and quickness, Lowery has the tools to be a good college defensive tackle who makes some plays.

Craig Haubert is recruiting coordinator for Scouts Inc. Drop Craig a line in his mailbag.