"We Walk!" #10: OL Jacob Gowan [#56]
Installment 10 in our scintillating 12-part series
on Stanford's freshman walk-ons takes us to the subject of Jacob Gowan, the
only non-scholarship offensive lineman in the 2009 class. Realistically,
Gowan doesn't expect to see the field this first season, but he is learning
quickly, has great size, and should be in a position to challenge in the years
ahead. He also comes across as one of the more pleasant, mature, and
outgoing freshmen ever encountered by The Bootleg.
The Bootleg: We're
here with freshman walk-on offensive lineman Jacob
Gowan. It doesn't look like they're taking it easy on you
out there. (Having just observed some rather grueling post-practice extra
conditioning for Gowan and fellow freshman OL Khalil Wilkes)
Jacob Gowan: No, they're just doing what they
have to do. I, along with one of my freshman buddies, was late to a meeting
and [the conditioning] wasn't as hard as it could have been. They did a good job
of giving us the right punishment for the right acts.
TB: So that
was an "unsupervised" portion of the practice? No coaches? The offensive line
tending to their own?
JG: Right. Accountability to the
you don't mind that?
JG: No. If
you've done something wrong, you need to make up for it somehow and that was the
best way to do it.
you are fitting right in here. You're certainly not "small" - what do you want
or expect your eventual playing weight to be?
JG: Right now I'm around 302, but it's in the
places. I'd like to be around 305 of muscle,
not much extra drag.
TB: Is it a little
bit unusual to be around so many guys your size and even bigger?
JG: I've never
really played against too many guys my size before, but it's fun. It's a lot
more challenging, but it is a lot of fun. I'm enjoying it - even the hard
in high school you started out at Anderson Valley High and then you switched to
Santa Rosa's Cardinal Newman. What was the impetus for the
my mom has a business in Rohnert Park, which is close to Santa Rosa, and she wanted
to spend more time with us. Plus Anderson Valley wasn't going to have a varsity
football team that next year and I wouldn't have been able to play. I really
liked football and really wanted a chance to do all I can do with
TB: Can we
get a free plug in – what kind of business does she run?
JG: Family-Life Magazine. It is
a great magazine, family-oriented. [See additional note below]
you start out as an offensive lineman as you came up through Pop
JG: I was always the offensive lineman. I was
a chubby kid - I had
to be a lineman
TB: When did colleges
taking interest in you as a football prospect?
JG: Probably the spring of my junior year. I started talking to a bunch of people. I began
looking at Stanford a little bit and I really liked it...and I also talked to a bunch of
you initiate the contact with Stanford?
JG: Yes, I
sent out some film to them. This was my favorite school all along. I was just
hoping to get a chance.
was Stanford your favorite school?
JG: Just because it's Stanford
(laughing). You've got to love it. I don't see how you
Was your thought always that you would be a walk-on possibility here or were you
shooting for a scholarship early on?
on, I was shooting for a scholarship, but then I realized that I wasn't quite
refined enough or in the right position to get one. That kind of put a little bit of
a damper on things, but I still really liked the school.
had a chance to visit unofficially?
JG: Unofficially. I took
an unofficial visit, spent the night in a hotel with my parents and hung out with
Sam Schwartzstein and David DeCastro a lot.
you see any games at Stanford stadium then?
JG: Yes I have - the USC game last year.
Stanford did really well in it and they're getting better every year. I'm really
happy to be on the team - it is a great experience.
should be pretty easy for your family to get to games then.
real easy. A train ride and a ferry ride.
about your offer situation? You knew you wanted to come here, but you must have
been getting some interest from other schools.
JG: Princeton, Cornell and Brown were the other big ones. I also
really liked UC-Davis because the coaches were really down- to-earth and really knew their
stuff. Sac State and UNLV also offered, but I was looking more for the UC
education style and I hoping to stay closer to home than UNLV.
you take visits to any of those schools?
JG: I took
official visits to Princeton, Brown, and Cornell.
are pretty solid options…
JG: I really
liked the Ivy League schools. It's a different style over there, but it's really
When you heard the news of your admission, what were the circumstances? We're assuming
you were pretty excited about it...
JG: Beforehand, I had heard there wasn't
going to be a scholarship offer available for me, so I was kind of down about
that. When I was sure I got in, it made the decision a little bit harder because
I could have gone elsewhere. Still, in the end I really liked the school and I
really liked the guys. They were friendly even though I was an "unofficial", just
coming to visit. It was a great atmosphere.
TB: Did the
coaches give you an indication of your being able to come in here and play, or at
said you can come here and compete, and I just want a chance to get some reps in
practices first and see where it takes me from here.
Where do you feel your game is as far as holes and potential areas of
I definitely need to work on and a lot of flexibility stuff. I have a lot of trouble
with my hamstrings right now that I found out about when I got here. I need to
work on stretching and getting more flexible. Then I need to work on my posture
and stance. I have a lot of trouble with inside pass-blocking. The other guys are
helping coach me up a lot before practice, critiquing my steps and just helping
me move along.
is the difference in high school coaching versus what you've experienced here so
a lot more individualized here. I love all my high school coaches at
Anderson Valley and Cardinal Newman. They did a great job coaching and preparing me
and they even helped me a bit during the summer to get ready for this. Here, there
are a lot more single reps and a lot more one-person or two-people drills. In high
school you don't have the time to do a bunch of different individualized stuff
- you have to do "whole-line" exercises.
you gotten any positive feedback from the coaches as far as things they like
about your game?
told that I can stand in a hole pretty well. I guess the word that they've used
is "stout". I need to work on being a little more "stout" in some areas, but I just have
to keep working.
TB: Were you
paying attention to the 2009 recruiting class as it was
JG: Yes, I was.
I actually met several of the other walk-ons on my Ivy League visits like (LB) Brent Etiz and (QB) Robbie Picazo. I met Robbie at Princeton and I really liked him.
I knew a lot about the other players too. I looked them up online and they all
seemed like good guys, hard workers and guys I'd like to be around.
TB: Who were some
of the toughest opponents that you played against up there at Cardinal Newman? Anybody
that stood out because you do have a decent league up there,
JG: Sure. A few
guys [on my team] went Division I. Jeff Badger and Randy Wright went to
Sacramento State and UC Davis respectively.
You're going to play Sac State next year…
JG: Yeah, Jeff and I are really excited about
that. Hopefully we'll get a rep or two against each other.
will be lobbying hard with Coach (Tim) Drevno, right?
JG: Oh yeah!
TB: Are you
being slotted specifically for one particular position here? Right-sde? Left-side?
JG: I'm just going
to go for guard and try to be interchangeable as far as side. That's something
that will help the team a lot. I'm a little short for tackle and I probably
don't have the quickness of feet that I'd like for that, so I'm going to try my
best at staying at guard.
you ever played center at all?
JG: I haven't played center, but I would like
to give it a shot there.
kind of offense were you running at Cardinal Newman? Were you pulling a
JG: Spread. A lot of
spread, but we did do a lot of pulling. It is pretty similar here. We have some of
the exact same plays and a few pretty different ones.
terminology is a little bit different?
terminology is a lot different for me. That's probably the biggest struggle for
me because they'd be talking about certain blocks and I just wouldn't get what
they were saying because they're using what seemed like a different
TB: I know you had
some productive backs behind you in high school – are you used to getting downfield? Here you also have
some big-time guys behind you now that are going to be breaking off some long runs – do
you like the idea of having to sustain those blocks and get down
JG: I like that.
We had to do a lot of that in high school because we had a couple of really
good backs. I'm really looking forward to pushing farther down the field and
giving our backs some more room to go - get those guys some extra
Outstanding! We're really glad to have you and happy you made the decision to
come to Stanford.
happy to be here and it's an honor to be around such great guys who are willing
to push you and bring you up at the same time.
TB: You ready for
school to start? YOu know
what you will be studying?
JG: Not a chance..Not a chance in
he _ _! (laughing). Excuse my language!
entrepreneurial mother, Sharon Gowan, is the founder, publisher and
editor of an award-winning magazine, Family-Life Magazine, and a
website http://www.family-life.us/ The
business is a purely local success story operating in beautiful
Sonoma County, California (wine country!), now celebrating 17 years of providing
'All the best for families,' including important local news stories, community
resource guides, and annual events such as the Family-Life Expo & Home Show,
the Summer Camp Adventure Fair, and the Baby & Child Fair in addition
to publishing Sonoma Family-Life Magazine and Mendo-Lake
Family-Life Magazine, and their respective websites: www.sonomafamilylife.com and www.mendolakefamilylife.com. We
certainly hope that all the best for families will now include Stanford Football
The "Dream Theme" Continues: At the time of his decision to come to
Stanford, Gowan told the Santa Rosa-based www.pressdemocrat.com "It's always been
a dream of mine to go to Stanford...and I never wanted to look back and think to
myself - what would have happened if I didn't go. I didn't want it to linger. I
really liked the other schools, but the Stanford education was important to
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