Dwight Lowery #20 FS
Height: 5-11 Weight: 212 Age: 30
Born: 1/23/1986 Santa Cruz , CA
College: San Jose State
Experience: 9th season
High School: Soquel HS [CA]
Selected By: New York Jets
Pick (Overall): 14 (113)
A relative unknown when he arrived at San Jose State, following an outstanding career at Cabrillo College, Lowery made his mark as one of the top pass defenders in college football. A free safety at Cabrillo College, Lowery credits his experience at the position and special teams for his seamless adjustment to the cornerback position at the major college level. He became the first San Jose State player to earn All-American honors in consecutive seasons (2006-07).
At Soquel High School, Lowery was a two-time All-Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League pick as a defensive back, adding All-League accolades as a senior running back. He set school records with 23 rushing touchdowns and 25 total scores in 2003. That year, he set the county record with seven touchdowns vs. Sacred Heart of San Francisco High. In 20 games on defense, he intercepted a school-record 20 passes. Lowery also lettered in basketball. A three-year starter for the basketball team, he earned League Most Valuable Player honors as a junior. That year, he led his squad to the Central Coast Section Playoffs.
Lowery visited San Jose State, Purdue and Utah State during the recruiting period, but enrolled at Cabrillo College to improve his academic standing. As a freshman in 2003, he was named to the All-Nor Cal Combine Team, in addition to earning All-State and All-Coast Conference first-team honors. He led the junior college level with 237 yards gained on eight interceptions, returning two for scores. He averaged 30 yards on 10 kickoff returns, including one for a touchdown. He also scored on a blocked punt and a blocked field goal, adding 69 tackles (48 solos) with two fumble recoveries and six pass breakups.
In 2004, the free safety led the nation with 202 yards gained on five pass thefts through the first five games, but missed the rest of the season with a hand injury. He recorded 26 tackles (14 solos) and was named to the All-Nor Cal team, despite his injury.
Lowery arrived at San Jose State during fall camp with little fanfare, but quickly seized the left cornerback spot for new head coach Dick Tomey. He would go on to earn All-American and All-Western Conference honors, as he tied Idaho's Stanley Franks for the national lead with nine interceptions. He also deflected seven passes, delivered 48 tackles (23 solos) with three fumble recoveries and averaged 8.4 yards on five punt returns. The cornerback joined linebacker Dave Chaney (1971) as the only Spartans ever named to Playboy's prestigious All-American squad.
During the next-to-last scrimmage of '07 spring drills, Lowery collided with running back Cameron Island, and suffered a fractured jaw. He had to have his mouth wired shut for seven weeks to help the healing process, losing more than 10 pounds during that time. As a senior, he also gained punt-return duties, ranking 14th in the nation with 273 yards and a touchdown on 19 attempts (14.37-yard average). The All-Western Athletic Conference defender collected 44 tackles (30 solos) with seven pass deflections and also came up with four interceptions.
He was named to the American Football Coaches Association All-American squad, becoming the school's first to be honored in consecutive seasons. Only three others before Lowery -- end Lloyd Thomas (1938), halfback LeRoy Zimmerman (1939) and linebacker Dave Chaney (1971) -- were named to one of the five nationally recognized All-American teams by the NCAA. Thomas, Zimmerman and Chaney were named Associated Press first-team All-American players in their respective senior seasons.
"It's an accomplishment for Dwight, our program and the Western Athletic Conference. The great thing for Dwight is he chose to stay in school to get further along towards his (bachelor's) degree and hone his skills for the next level. Certainly receiving this honor and recognition is very gratifying to him," said San Jose State head coach Dick Tomey, AFCA second vice-president. "I'm really proud of him and the fact that he has been able to accomplish all of it in the framework of the team and trying to make our team better. And, I know he has a bright future in football."
"This is a tremendous honor. Right now, I'm at a loss for words," Lowery said when he first learned of the honor. "Last year, it (an All-American performance) wasn't expected. So, it was easy to do the things I did. When you come back the next year, it's expected of you now. The things I did last year, people expect that now and I expect that of myself. The challenge is something that drove me this year. Maybe, there's somebody questioning whether last year was a fluke, or I got lucky. I love that challenge and I feel there are always ways you can get better as a person and as a football player. That's something that I embraced this year."
At Cabrillo College, Lowery played 15 games at free safety. He holds the California Community College Football Conference career leader with 439 yards gained on 13 interceptions (33.8-yard average) and two touchdowns. He also scored on a blocked punt, a blocked field goal and a kickoff return, handling 10 kickoffs for 300 yards (30-yard average). He recorded 95 tackles (62 solos) with two fumble recoveries, a forced fumble and six pass breakups while also carrying once for an 18-yard gain.
In 25 games at San Jose State, all starting assignments, Lowery was fourth in school history with 13 interceptions, gaining 147 yards in returns (11.3-yard avg) with a score. He added 315 yards and a touchdown on 24 punt returns (13.1-yard avg) and deflected 14 passes. He recovered three fumbles and posted 92 tackles (53 solos).