Rickey Dowdy has very quietly slipped out the back door and is now enrolled at Cumberland University, an NAIA program in Lebanon, TN.
Dowdy, who led the Pack and was in the top 30 nationally with 16.5 tackles for a loss last season, leaves new coach Dave Doeren with just three returning linebackers with anything resembling playing experience: D. J. Green, who sat out last season due to a PED suspension, and part timers Brandon Pittman and Rodman Noel. All three lack typical linebacker size--in fact Green and Noel are converted safeties--and seem best suited for play on the outside. Noel had 42 tackles including 6 for a loss last season; Pittman made 34 stops with four tackles behind the line. Both backers registered one sack.
Dowdy was third on the team and first among linebackers with 88 tackles, and he also recorded 3.5 sacks. He would have been the team's leading returning tackler (that honor now belongs to Dontae Johnson). Dowdy will have one season of eligibility remaining and can play right away since he is transferring to a lower division.
If there is a silver lining in this development, it's that Dowdy had zero experience, having seen all of one snap in his first two years, before developing into a somewhat productive starter. Someone will step up to fill the void.