90 MINUS 41 DAYS TO KICKOFF: Laton Dowling

Ty Zimmerman (12) and Ryan Mueller (44) will be defensive leaders in 2013. Will Laton Dowling (90) step up and join them in that capacity? - USA TODAY Sports

In which BracketCat counts down the 50th day until kickoff with a profile of defensive end Laton Dowling.

Sorry this one was late, but SB Nation was having all kinds of funky problems yesterday that prevented me from publishing on time. Luckily, they seem to have been fixed, so I'll catch up today.

LatonDowling

#90 Laton Dowling
Redshirt Junior
6-3 | 254
Dodge City, Kan.

Bio

Position: Defensive End

Previous College: None

Projection: Third-String

Status: On Scholarship

Laton Casper Dowling (b. June 26, 1991) is reaching the end of his shelf life as a potential starter or impact player.

Despite horrendous depth problems on the defensive line, the coaches were able to redshirt him in 2010, instead of throwing him to the Big 12 wolves. He then saw only slight playing time in 2011, mostly on special teams.

In 2012, his chief statistical contribution was returning a few pooch kickoffs, even though he played more on the defensive line than he had in the past. But if he's ever going to break through to major minutes, it has to be 2013.

Rivals.com rated Dowling as the 49th-best weakside defensive end prospect in the class of 2010 and the 10th-best overall prospect in the state of Kansas, which was good enough for a three-star ranking.

He probably will be relied upon to provide depth — especially at defensive end — on the defensive line, but I'm still not expecting too much out of him this year. It kind of feels like we've already recruited over him, in some ways.

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