Just when it seemed as though NC State's 2021 football recruiting effort was starting to take off, coach Dave Doeren and his staff were handed an unexpected setback Thursday when three-star running back Caleb "JuJu" McDowell announced that he is decommitting from the Wolfpack.
"I would like to announce my recruitment is open as of this point," McDowell wrote on his Twitter page. "Thank you to the NC State staff and community for making a difference in my life. Please respect my decision."
The 5-foot-10, 175-pound McDowell is from Lee County High School in Leesburg, Ga. He did not indicate the reasons for his decision or what, if any other schools he is considering.
He chose the Wolfpack on April 15 over Syracuse, Purdue, Indiana and East Carolina, among others. He has also recently reported an offer from South Carolina.
Selected as the Georgia 1-AAAAAA Athlete of the Year, McDowell led his team to an 11-2 record on the way to the state quarterfinals. A speedster who also runs track, he is also a dangerous kick returner who could have made an impact with the Wolfpack on special teams as well as from scrimmage.
As disappointing as McDowell's decision to decommit is, it's not entirely surprising.
Doeren actually predicted something like this might happen shortly after the running back's commitment in April when he made what has become a prophetic statement about the effect of the coronavirus pandemic on this year's recruiting cycle.
"I think a lot of recruits are making decisions and some of them may stick to them," he said. "A lot of them may decide they wish they would have taken visits and want to reopen those things up.
"You could see a bigger trend to that. I do think you're going to see a lot of later decisions being made by a lot of kids and it probably should be that way with the timeline that's changed."
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