Coming into his career at Kentucky, many considered Lynn Bowden to be the next Randall Cobb.
His field vision, speed, and elusiveness last year was among the best in the entire nation, and the Warren, OH native’s recruiting analysis proved that.
“I’ve seen a lot of the top players in the country this year, and in the open field he’s as good as anyone, in my opinion,” Scout.com Ohio recruiting analyst Bill Greene said in an interview with the Courier-Journal. “He’s a threat to score every time he touches the football and when he gets in a college system where he’s not the focal point of the defense, he could really be dangerous then.”
After managing 3,643 total yards and 57 touchdowns as a senior in high school, expectations for Bowden were through the roof, and rightfully so. He’s an electric talent with the ability to do special things with the ball in his hands.
But after just a few months on campus, the true freshman’s reputation has taken a hit.
Bowden showed up late to camp due to academic eligibility concerns. Not a good look, but not detrimental by any means.
Following the season opener against Southern Miss, he then took to Twitter to voice his displeasure with the coaching staff about the lack of reps he received.
That’s where things got ugly.
Fans immediately bashed him for reacting after one game of minimal playing time.
Lynn Bowden is gonna act like a spoiled little girl now because he didn't get to play every play. Maturity.
— JD White (@JWhite402) September 3, 2017
Lynn Bowden…don't do this.
— Patrick Daniels (@BBNsportsTalk) September 3, 2017
I think we're gonna hear that Lynn Bowden's twitter account was compromised. #IveBeenHacked
— Fake David Beckham (@FakeBecksKSR) September 3, 2017
In his first touch as a Wildcat against EKU, he took the opening kickoff back 30 yards, giving fans a sign of hope. He then returned another kick and found himself at receiver a handful of times midway through the first quarter.
Just a few drives later, Bowden made a crushing block on a Colonel defender and was (questionably) ejected for targeting.
Kentucky’ Lynn Bowden ejected for targeting. I’m no so sure abut that. pic.twitter.com/w9jiY6d3ng
— Troy Machir (@TroyMachir) September 9, 2017
You guessed it, fans let him have it on Twitter:
Lynn Bowden wins imbecile of the day award.
— Honus Wagner (@DailySports_1) September 9, 2017
I wonder if Lynn Bowden and Donald Trump have the same Twitter password??? #BBN
— Adam Griggs (@businessraptor) September 9, 2017
Ways for Lynn Bowden to get playing time
1. Don't get ejected
2. Don't get ejected
3. Don't get ejected #bbn
— jaredmac5 (@kentucky_mac) September 9, 2017
Somebody send Lynn Bowden's Tweet-to-reception ratio to NFL scouts
— Tony Walden (@walden_tony) September 9, 2017
It’s easy to get caught up in the negativity and slam athletes for making bone head decisions, we’ve all done it at one point or another.
But this kid is 19 years old. There is a whole lot of time for the freshman to get back on your good side.
The coaching staff and fan base have praised the four-star freshman to no end since he was on UK’s recruiting radar.
Before Bowden even committed to Kentucky, Vince Marrow told the media, “I ain’t going to say no names, but it’s one guy. One dynamic guy that we’re definitely waiting on.”
After he signed on the dotted line, Marrow followed up with even more high praise: “I’ll go on record and say this: We signed the best player in Ohio. Lynn Bowden is the best player in Ohio.”
The coaching staff has adamantly backed the class of 2017 as the best recruiting class of the Mark Stoops era, and Bowden is the centerpiece of that.
This kid knows how good he is and wants the opportunity to shine. He understands he doesn’t have the seniority, but he does have the talent. If we’ve learned anything from watching Kentucky basketball, it’s that talent outweighs experience.
And the coaching staff is conscientious of that.
Instead of criticizing the star freshman and issuing a punishment following the original tweeting incident, Stoops agreed with him. He was understanding of Bowden’s concerns. He said the team needs to figure out a way to get the ball in his hands on a regular basis because he has the opportunity to do great things with it.
Our own Freddie Maggard told us that he has yet to drop a ball in practice, and he was turning heads on his first official day of practice. Stoops told reporters today that he had an incredible week of practice last week and that “his time will come.”
We have a kid wanting to make a major impact immediately, specifically in a situation where the offense wasn’t getting much going. He wanted to be the game changer we all expect him to become right out of the gate. We’ve had those instant-impact guys at UK in the past, and if you believe the coaching staff, he’s going to step right in line and continue the trend.
He needs to be patient, and that’s part of the maturation process. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it’s impressive to see a kid with his toolbox ready to give it a shot.
Lynn Bowden will be just fine.