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Recruiting Profile: Andrew Bowman
by Art Stevens, 2/9/04
  • Linebacker
  • Hermitage High School (Richmond, VA)
  • 6-1, 230 pounds
  • Runs the 40 in 4.6 seconds
  • Senior Line: 99 tackles, 11 tackles-for-loss, two sacks, three forced-fumbles
  • Four-star prospect by Insiders.com and three-star by Rivals.com
  • Committed to VT Ė January 14, 2004
  • Primary Recruiter: Jim Cavanaugh

Plenty of highly touted recruits have the sterling forty-yard dash times, the bench press numbers and the high school accolades that college football programs salivate over, and Andrew Bowman is no different.

The middle linebacker from Hermitage High School in Richmond, Va. led his Panthers to a 9-1 record in 2003 and garnered all the postseason awards youíd expect of a blue-chip recruit. But numbers only begin to tell Bowmanís story. What separates the 6-0, 230-pounder from other future college stars his age is simple: maturity. Bowman has always been farther along in his advancement, both as a player and person than those around him.

"Heís a role model type guy," Hermitage coach Patrick Kane said. "Heís the kind of guy youíd want your daughter to date. A lot of times in situations where youngsters might not know when to say ĎNo,í it comes out of his mouth very quickly without a second thought."

Kaneís description of Bowman should come as a breath of fresh air for Tech fans stunned at the recent news recruits and current players have made.

"Heís self confident and mature and doesnít have to go with the group," the coach added. "Heíll make the correct decisions for the right reasons, not necessarily because of peer pressure."

Thatís been Bowmanís story since he cracked the Panthersí starting lineup midway through his freshman season. Heís always been ahead of the curve.

His senior season illustrates Bowman development perfectly.

With 4.5 speed at 230 pounds, Bowman spent his first three seasons playing outside linebacker, where he had more room to run and make plays. But in his final year, Kane asked Bowman to make the move to middle linebacker. As Kane told the Richmond Times-Dispatch in October, "We put Andrew in the middle so teams couldnít run away from him."

Bowman, who was named a team captain for 2003, responded with a team-leading 99 tackles, including 11 for loss and a sack. But again, his impact transcended tackle and sack numbers. Kane was asked to stop the run more, to take on lead blockers on running plays and get into the backfield on different blitz packages.

Bowman, like many middle linebackers at the next level, also played the role of coach on the field.

"We had a lot of defensive audibles that were my keys," he said. "I had to change the defense and move the guys around me."

His versatility and leadership earned Bowman a host of awards when the season ended. He was named first team All-District, Metro and Central Region as well as second-team All-State.

Kane said what separates Bowman on the field from other players is the same thing that sets them apart off the field. Heís ahead of the game.

"The difference with [Bowman] than most high school kids at this level is that he tackles extremely well," Kane said. "He understands that he needs to run through a tackle. A lot of times you see a kid try to reach and grab and drag people down. When he makes a tackle people go backwards."

Because Bowmanís development as a player and person surpasses even most big-time college recruits, neither Bowman nor Kane could say whether Bowman would take a redshirt season.

"I think heís gonna get stronger and faster just because of the weight programs they have year-round," Kane said, of Tech. "But you look at most of your college lineups, there arenít that many [linebackers] out there bigger than 230.

"The bigger and faster you are, the better off youíre going to be, but does he have to do that to come in there and compete for playing time immediately? No, I donít think so."

For his part, Bowman said he sees the value in a redshirt season, but also knows what an opportunity it would be to see the field as a freshman.

"Weíll see how it goes in the spring and summer," he said of his workouts to gain speed and strength. "If it presents itself, Iíd love to play."

When Bowman does get his chance, whether in 2004 or not, heíll bring the reputation of an aggressive player and hard hitter to the field with him.

Rivals.com ranked Bowman 30th among linebackers nationally. The three stars out of five he was given, according to Rivals, puts him between 200-and 550 among recruits overall. A third ranking system assigns a numerical value between 4.9 and 6.1 to each player. Bowmanís 5.5 ranking means he is "considered among the region's top prospects and among the top 500 or so prospects in the country; high-to-mid-major prospect; deemed to have pro potential and ability to make an impact on a college team."

To put all that in perspective, of the other players who orally committed to Virginia Tech, only Sean Glennon (QB, Chantilly, Va.) and George Bell (RB, Fayetteville, N.C.) received more stars (4). They were ranked 10th and 12th respectively among players nationally at their positions.

Bowman visited Purdue, Tennessee and Virginia before deciding on Virginia Tech. He said it was partly because "Itís a place to get a good education, and socially, it just felt right," and partly because he felt comfortable with how the Tech coaches saw him fitting into their system. Bowman wants to move back to the outside linebacker role where he can get out and run more.

"Heís a very mature kid," said Kane, who aided Bowman in the football side of his decision. "He had [the recruiters] sit down and explain the schemes and what the job assignments were."

Asked why Virginia Tech fans should be excited about him donning the orange and maroon in 2004, Bowman said he brings "a lot of excitement and hard hitting" to the field.

Thatís something any team could use.

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