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Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling has been recognized as one of 30 NCAA football bowl subdivision student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and were tabbed as candidates for the football Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must be classified as an NCAA Division I senior and have notable achievements in four areas of excellence – classroom, character, community and competition.

An acronym for Celebrating Loyalty and Achievement for Staying in School, the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award focuses on the total student-athlete and encourages students to use their platform in athletics to make a positive impact as leaders in their communities.

The 2010 candidate class includes 10 American Football Coaches Association Allstate Good Works Team nominees, including Dowling. Nine of the 30 have maintained a cumulative grade point average of 3.5 or better. Five of the candidates were recognized by the College Sports Information Directors of America as 2009 Academic All-Americans, and 10 are members of teams ranked in the USA Today coaches preseason top 25 poll. Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winner at the conclusion of the regular season. 

Dowling enters his final season at UVa on three national award watch lists that are handed out by the National College Football Awards Association (NCFAA). The Chesapeake, Va., native is on the Chuck Bednarik Award, Nagurski Trophy and Thorpe Award Watch Lists.

The fourth-year is also active in the community as a featured speaker for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes, speaking to elementary children throughout the Charlottesville region. Dowling is also actively involved with Virginia Athletics’ ACE program, Athletes Committed to Community and Education. Dowling is a sociology major and is on track to graduate this December, accomplishing the feat in 3.5 years.

The candidate class will be narrowed to 10 finalists midway through the regular season, and those 10 names will be placed on the official ballot. Ballots will be distributed through a nationwide voting system to media, coaches and fans, who will select one finalist who best exemplifies excellence in the four Cs of community, classroom, character and competition. 

“The young men in our football candidate class are excellent examples of student-athletes who spend quality time helping improve their communities,” said Tom Lamb, Lowe’s senior vice president of marketing. “We are pleased to recognize them and excited to see what they accomplish during their senior seasons.”

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