In February, Shreveport (LA) pass rushing monster Chris Bowers told us that Stanford was a "longshot" for his ultimate college selection, but a surge in interest from the Cardinal put them in his top four by March. We shared with you at the beginning of this month how Bowers has come to increasingly favor Stanford in the recruiting process, and now on the final day of April we can report even more good news.
Bowers has the Cardinal in his top two.
So how did the distant Card make such headway with this one-time longshot? One key aid was a phone call early this month, when Bowers spoke with Stanford head coach Buddy Teevens at his high school. Teevens extended an offer to the top-rated defensive end, and that catalyzed their ascension in his mind. "The offer definitely made me more interested," the Evangel Christian junior comments. "They have sent me a lot of stuff on academics in the mail. It's really impressive what their graduates do after Stanford."
Other offers that have come this month include Auburn and Vanderbilt, which stack on top of rides from Texas, Texas Tech and LSU. The one school that is high on Bowers' mind that has yet to make the plunge is Colorado, so would they see their favor spike if/when they offer? "I don't like the cold weather a whole lot," he admits. "That might affect me. I need to see what it's like there before I can really think about that."
And visits are indeed an important part of the process, which is picking up for the 6'3" 240-pounder. He has taken unofficial trips to the three most 'local' schools in his region this spring. He checked out both Austin and Lubbock for their respective spring games, as well as LSU's junior day, though the results may surprise you. Texas and LSU have been thought by some to be prohibitive favorites for the West Louisiana prospect, but his take on the pair is surprisingly luke warm.
The junior day in Baton Rouge was just "alright" for Bowers, who adds that "LSU has never really been high on my list." The spring game at Texas was a fun affair, but it was the follow-up that threw things off-kilter. "I talked with [head coach] Mack Brown a couple days later, and he told me that they see me as a defensive tackle," Bowers recalls. "I don't like that, and it's not what I prefer. My dad and I both see me as a defensive end, but Coach Brown is firm about me at tackle. They're still in there, but not a favorite."
With the jury out on Colorado, this recruitment interestingly is shaping up as a Stanford-Texas Tech battle, a most uncommon battle in the recruiting wars. The Red Raiders have more than just proximity on their side, though, as Bowers has plenty of friends on the roster that add to his comfort level. "There are some Evangel teammates who are at Texas Tech and going there this fall I know. Plus there is the good possibility of playing early. I've talked with some of their coaches and liked what I heard," he offers.
Don't count out the Cardinal, though. Soon after the Stanford offer to the talented defensive end, the Bowers family booked a family vacation out West to spend a week in the San Francisco Bay Area. There are legitimate vacation sights for them to see and enjoy that week (June 30-July 6), but without question the primary thrust is to take a hard look at the Stanford campus, coaches and facilities during the extended unofficial visit. Bowers says he will also want to take an official visit during the fall, to see a game weekend and its atmosphere.
Other good news is that the Evangel junior has firmly committed to retake the ACT, which was an uncertainty the last time we checked. He currently has an early May test date scheduled.
The springtime also brings a lot of training and conditioning for Bowers, who is lifting twice daily and running to increase his speed. He has high goals for the fall season, including the team lead in sacks and tackles, which is no small feat on the hyper-talented Evangel roster. But team goals may now be a little more modest than Bowers and his teammates had thought even a month ago. A falling out between the chancellor and interim head coach at Evangel led to a messy incident two weeks ago where Johnny Booty was fired from the school. His son is of course the infamous John David Booty, nationally elite junior quarterback who committed this spring to play at USC. Feeling his father and family betrayed by the Evangel administration, the younger Booty is leaving school and will enroll this fall at Southern Cal after he completes the final English credit he needs for graduation this summer. The Booty and Bowers families live across the street from each other and are very good friends, leaving more than a sour taste in Chris' mouth about the state of affairs for his senior season. At one point during this affair, half the team and coaches threatened to leave the program over the treatment of the elder Booty.
"It's hard to say what we will be able to do," Bowers allows. "We're a different team after the troubles at school." The offense will be expected to take a step back, but you can bet that Bowers will double up his defensive intensity as Evangel remains on a collision course with some state and national powers. They are scheduled to play nationally ranked Rockhurst (Kansas City, MO), Longview (TX) and De La Salle (Concord, CA). There is no question that Bowers and his teammates will be physically and emotionally tested on many levels this fall.
Spring practices began Monday for the Evangel Eagles and can be followed at www.rodsevangelwebsite.com.
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