When Prairie View A&M head football coach Bubba McDowell and his assistant head coach decided to restart the Panthers’ high school football mega camp on June 1, he knew he had a chance to make it bigger better than before.
So naturally, he called in a favor to another prominent NFL defensive back-turned-college coach.
“Mark Frederick and myself, we decided to bring it back; we had it before when (Southern) Coach (Eric) Dooley was here,” McDowell explains. “We wanted to call all our guys from the college programs and see if they’d be willing to do it. I asked Coach Gary Harrell, the assistant head coach at Colorado now, if Coach Prime would want to do it. He called back three or four days later and said he was all in.”
McDowell, who played seven seasons at safety in the NFL for the Houston Oilers and Carolina Panthers (second-team all-pro in 1991) along with Deion Sanders and his former school Jackson State, will be among several names, coaches, and universities on hand coaching up high school football players.
Several SWAC schools aside from Prairie View and JSU will attend, such as Grambling, Florida A&M, Alabama State, Texas Southern, and Tennessee State from the Ohio Valley Conference.
“Once he came on board,” McDowell said of Sanders, “it took off from there. He’s at Colorado now, but he’s still on board with the SWAC and HBCUs, so I count it as a blessing, and I’m grateful for all the schools and coaches joining us.”
McDowell’s first season as Panthers’ head coach went pretty well – 6-5 and 5-3 in the SWAC West, but missed out on the SWAC championship game thanks to Southern having the head-to-head tiebreaker.
“I’m just ready to get going and compete,” he says of the 2023 season. “We had several chances to secure the West and have that game with Coach Prime, but it didn’t happen for us. The good news is we didn’t lose a lot of kids from last year. We’re going out and being active now that the portal is happening.
We see how many kids are hitting the portal after spring practices. We are active, and we want to make ourselves known. Most don’t know what PV has from the outside, but it’s a different story when we get them on campus. It’s been helpful with social media and showing guys what we have to offer.”
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