According to ESPN’s Mark Schlabach, Former Air Force quarterback Dee Dowis was killed in a car accident on Monday morning in Atlanta. Gwinnett County Police say that the 48-year-old was killed at about 5 a.m. ET in a two-car crash while traveling on Interstate 85. At the time of his death, he worked as a pharmaceutical salesman and lived in South Carolina.
Dowis finished sixth in Heisman Trophy voting back in 1989 after being lightly recruited out of Franklin County High School in Royston, Georgia. When most bigger schools in the south passed on him due to his smaller size (5’10”, 153 pounds), he enrolled at Air Force.
He ran for 3,612 yards on 543 carries from 1986 through 1989, which was a record for rushing yards by a quarterback at the time. Dowis’s national record has since been passed by four others, but he remains Air Force’s all-time leading rusher.
During his senior season in 1989 he became the fifth player to pass and run for more than 1,000 yards. He completed 47.9 percent of his throws for 1,285 yards with seven touchdowns and also ran for 1,286 yards on only 172 attempts with 18 scores. Dowis averaged 6.5 yards per carry for his career, good for 42nd on college football’s all-time list.
Here’s what former Air Force coach Fisher DeBerry had to say about Dowis (via the Colorado Springs Gazette):
“Pound for pound, he was one of the greatest, most gifted and talented players to have played the college game. Everybody in America had so much respect for him. And as great a player as he was, he was even a greater friend. His life never was about himself. All he wanted in life was to give back. This is just so tragic.”
Dowis’s official cause of death has not yet been determined.