‘He was there to protect his baby sister’: JSU player reacts to losing Phil Dowdell in Dadeville shooting

Published: Apr. 20, 2023 at 10:42 PM CDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Ala. (WBRC) - Jacksonville State University Freshman Quarterback Earl Woods says he was looking forward to Phil Dowdell joining the team this fall.

Woods is an early enrollee from Hueytown and he was in the same recruiting class as 18-year-old Phil Dowdell.

He said the two hung out a few times and they talked often.

“It’s tragic that happened. I’m sad that that happened, but I’m kind of glad that he was there to protect his baby sister,” says Woods. “We had a good relationship over social media. He would comment under my posts. I kind of met him at Jacksonville State he came down on a visit. He was telling me he was committed and all that. I had just seen him for spring break. He was telling me how he was ready to get down there. That’s probably like two or three weeks ago.”

Woods originally had plans to attend the Sweet 16 Birthday party for Dowdell’s little sister Alexis. He says the two were extremely close.

Woods saw posts about the party on social media only to find out a few hours later that Dowdell had been killed.

“It’s tragic hearing that news knowing that I was about to get ready to play with him,” says Woods. “That’s just sad to hear he was on his way to college almost finished high school and that happened.”

Woods met with his teammates and coaches, who all plan to honor Dowdell.

“I’ve been back on campus and our coach did talk to us Sunday about the killing,” says Woods. “We signed a football that we’re going to give to his family.”

The funeral services for Phil Dowdell are set for Monday, April 24 at 1 p.m. at the Dadeville High School Auditorium.

The family set up a GoFundMe. To donate, you can click here.

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