Season recap: Dexter McDougle
Stafford (Va.) High School football coach Chad Lewis knew he had something special in senior athlete Dexter McDougle. It just took some time for college programs to figure it out.
McDougle, a 5-foot-11, 180-pound defensive back/running back/wide receiver, was derailed early in his junior season after suffering a freak injury in practice that left him with two broken knuckles.
But according to Lewis, the Maryland-bound McDougle quickly made up for lost time as a senior for Stafford, which started the season 0-4 but rebounded to finish 5-5.
“He had a phenomenal season,” Lewis said. “He’s one of those players that’s just extremely explosive. He’s a very electrifying player that can make a play at any given time, whether it’s on offense, defense or special teams. ... I'll tell you what, Dexter just really went on a roll the last four games. He was just amazing. He had a heck of a season, but the last four games he was just really hitting full stride.”
McDougle, who will likely play cornerback at Maryland, recorded 97 tackles and six interceptions at free safety. Offensively, he caught 48 passes for 885 yards and 11 touchdowns, and rushed for 457 yards and nine touchdowns on 76 carries. McDougle also returned one punt and two kickoffs for scores. He earned all-area and all-district honors for his efforts, in addition to being named honorable mention All-Met by The Washington Post.
Because McDougle missed the majority of his junior season, his recruiting picture was close to nonexistent when it came to Division I. Six games into McDougle’s senior year, Lewis hurriedly compiled a highlight tape and sent it out to several programs.
Maryland, Virginia Tech and South Carolina, among others, all responded to McDougle’s film with scholarship offers. Lewis said McDougle had an immediate interest in UM, thanks in some part to a current Terp two years removed from Stafford High.
“You don’t get any better than [Terps wide receiver and kick returner] Torrey Smith,” Lewis said. “He came to a couple of our games this year. He serves, obviously, as a big role model to our kids. ... He had very positive things to say about the University of Maryland, but at the same time ... the only person who can make the decision really is that student-athlete. But I think Torrey may have had something to do [with McDougle’s commitment] because he’s been there [and excelled] there.”
Lewis said McDougle does most of his damage with the ball in his hands. He’s slotted for the Maryland secondary, but Lewis also thinks he’s capable of making significant contributions on special teams, and offense if the need arises.
“Dexter is going to compete,” Lewis said. “He’s got that driving force in that he wants to do the best he can do. He’s going to do some exciting things, obviously on the defensive side of the ball and [hopefully on] special teams. I think he’s going to have a bright future there.”