Published June 12, 2011|Updated June 13, 2011

It's easy to like Lakewood defensive end Dante Fowler.

He's affable, he's honest, he has opinions and isn't afraid to share them, and he's just the right mix of youthful enthusiasm and cockiness to make for a fun conversation. Which is why St. Petersburg Times preps columnist John C. Cotey couldn't resist having one with him the other night:

John C. Cotey: So, how's the shoulder you injured running the ball in the spring game?

Dante Fowler: It's better. It's nothing major, just going to have to rehab it a lot. But I'll be all right by the time we play Countryside (on Aug. 26).

JCC: You'll be ready to go?

DF: I'll be ready by first practice. Well, I might not be in pads the first few days. But I'm going to take this summer to work on my upper body and get stronger. Since it's my throwing (linemen around) shoulder, I have to get it right. They said if I was a quarterback, I would have probably needed surgery.

JCC: You will go to some college camps this summer. How much will you be able to participate?

DF: I'm going to try to participate at the FSU camp in July since I'm going there. I might try to participate at Florida's Friday Night Lights camp, too.

JCC: The Great Running Back Experiment of 2011 is over, isn't it? I was thinking you were good for 1,000 yards, and hoping you'd predict 30 touchdowns instead of 30 sacks.

DF: Me playing running back? Yeah, I ain't playing no more unless they need me at a goal-line situation.

JCC: Your dad did not look happy that night.

DF: Well, he told coach (Cory) Moore I can play, but I get one injury playing running back, that's it. I got one injury. So that's it.

JCC: I knowMoore has gotten a little heat for using you there in the first place but to be fair, you wanted to play running back, right?

DF: Yeah, I wanted to play running back. He gave me my chance. It's not all his fault. I wanted to play.

JCC: Now, about that spring game ... I know it was Lakeland, but a 50-14 loss? Really?

DF: Maaaaan. It was disappointing because I knew we could have beat that team if we had our whole team. But we were missing Rodney Adams, Jacquel Cooper, my brother Donterrio ... we had a lot of impact players missing. It would have been a way better game if we had everyone.

JCC: But those guys don't play defense. Can they tackle, because you might need to find some people who can.

DF: Our offense is complete. The best offense in Pinellas, you watch. The defense just needs to work on wrapping up, and the defensive line needs to get stronger. Man, they killed me (when I was running the ball) in practice all spring. I thought we were ready. Now it feels like we have to learn tackling from the start.

JCC: You recently accepted an invitation to play in next year's Under Armour game at the Trop. That has to be a career highlight.

DF: Man, I was really excited. I had invites from U.S. Army game and USA vs. the World, but I wanted to finish my career in St. Petersburg. Everyone in St. Pete wants to see me play in that game. The whole city will be there.

JCC: Okay, when I think of Dante Fowler, I think bright lights, I think of a kid who loves the attention, I think school auditorium and you pulling a hat out from under the table and making your decision. What were you thinking committing quietly like you did? A big extravaganza screams DANTE FOWLER to me.

DF: Who said I can't still do that?

JCC: We know where you're going, man!

DF: Hey, you never know what can happen. You never know what can happen when you're messing around with me.

For more of this Q&A, visit