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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Virginia cornerback Ras-I Dowling has been recognized as one of 10 NCAA football bowl subdivision student-athletes who excel both on and off the field and were tabbed as finalists 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.

A committee of media chose the finalists from the list of 30 candidates announced in August. Nationwide fan voting begins immediately to determine the winner. Fans are encouraged to vote via the Lowe’s Senior CLASS Award website through December 6. Fan votes will be combined with media and coaches votes to determine the winner.

Dowling entered 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 actively involved with Virginia Athletics’ ACE program, Athletes Committed to Community and Education. Dowling is a sociology major and on track to graduate this December, accomplishing the feat in 3.5 years.

Four of the 10 finalists are from ACC institutions. Joining Dowling is Sean Bedford from Georgia Tech, Anthony Castonzo from Boston College and Christian Ponder from Florida State.

Lowe’s, an official Corporate Partner of the NCAA, will announce the Senior CLASS Award winner January 10, 2011, on ESPN prior to the Tostitos BCS National Championship Game.

Below is the entire finalist list:

Name, Position, School

Sam Acho, Defensive End, Texas

Sean Bedford, Center, Georgia Tech

Anthony Castonzo, Offensive Tackle, Boston College

Jake Coffman, Defensive End, Northern Illinois

Ricky Dobbs, Quarterback, Navy

Ras-I Dowling, Cornerback, Virginia

Kendall Hunter, Running Back, Oklahoma State

Christian Ponder, Quarterback, Florida State

Ryan Pugh, Center, Auburn

Stefen Wisniewski, Offensive Guard, Penn State

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