LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - Every prospect strives to be considered a five-star. Dante Fowler Jr., a talented defensive end from St. Petersburg (Fla.) Lakewood, knows the feeling of being a five-star.
He also knows the feeling of losing that status.
Fowler, who was dropped to four-star status during an up-and-down senior season is now at the Under Armour All-America Game determined to regain his fifth star.
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"I definitely have something to prove," Fowler said following an Under Armour practice. "I don't want nobody to feel like I am not the player that they thought I was. I just want to go out here and show that I am that type of caliber and that I can be named that kind of person."
Through four days of practice leading up to Thursday night's game, Fowler feels he has performed at a high-level.
"The talent is really coming out because you are playing people at the same level as you," Fowler said. "I feel I have done pretty good but I still have a lot of work to do.
"I still have more to prove, more to show," Fowler added. "I know that when we get into the game, things getting even more difficult. I just have to bring my game up even more at that point."
While the 6-foot-3, 232-pound Rivals100 prospect is focused on the field for his final game of his high school career, he knows that he will soon have to turn his attention to signing with a college. Over a year ago Fowler pledged to Florida State, and he remains committed to the Seminoles, but plans to see a few other schools that have remained persistent in their pursuit of him.
"I am still 100% solid but I am taking official visits to Florida, USC, and Florida State," Fowler said. "That is it."
He explained the reasoning behind the visits.
"I just want to see what is out there and spend some time with the coaching staffs," Fowler said.
The Trojans remain an appealing option for Fowler, who has major respect for their coaching staff.
"Distance isn't a factor," Fowler said. "Also, Monte Kiffin is a great coach. Who wouldn't want to get coached by him. I just want to get out there and see what they are about. I love their defense and I expect them to be really good next year."
The Florida Gators have been a school that has always stayed in the picture with Fowler.
"Florida was a school that I was heavy on before I committed to Florida State," Fowler said. "Before Coach (Will) Muschamp went to Florida, my dad used to always rave about him being a good coach at Texas. When Sergio Kindle was at Texas, that used to be my favorite college player. Also, Coach (Dan) Quinn has coached some of the best like Jason Taylor."
Fowler will travel to Southern Cal on January 13th, then Florida on the 20th, and Florida State on the 27th, before making a final decision on National Signing Day.
As for the likelihood he sticks with the Seminoles, Fowler says that is the plan as of today.
"I think it is very likely," Fowler said. "I like a lot of things about Florida State. I committed there for a lot of reasons. Those things haven't changed."