I’ve grown a little tired of negative pre-draft rhetoric surrounding Lynn Bowden Jr. Nick Roush wrote a piece on Kentucky Sports Radio Dot Com that focused on comments from former ESPN talking head John Clayton. Clayton’s route to professional football for Bowden was that of an undrafted free agent. With all due respect to Mr. Clayton and others that are skeptical of Lynn Bowden Jr., I have some advice for you leading up to April 23rd: JUST WATCH THE DARN TAPE.
Bowden won the Paul Hornung Award, which is presented to the nation’s most versatile player, in 2019. Accolades mean very little for draft purposes, but the Youngstown native was also named First Team All-American and First Team All-SEC. I’ll say that again: In The SEC.
We’re not talking about a system quarterback from other leagues that put up video game-like passing numbers. Bowden was dominant in the nation’s top conference with the most defensive players that will play professional football. That should mean something shouldn’t it? He didn’t run the forty at the NFL Combine. Questions about his speed? Turn on the tape. Bowden can be seen separating from and running around defenders.
Bowden answered the call every time his team needed him. Just watch the darn tape. The Cats were struggling at Missouri in 2018. Bowden interjected himself at punt returner and took a Tiger boot to the house. Oh yeah, he also registered thirteen receptions for 166 yards in Columbia. He did more of the same in the postseason. Bowden Jr. caught five passes for 84 yards and returned a punt for a TD in a win over Penn State in the Citrus Bowl.
Lynn Bowden’s 2019 performance was legendary. He voluntarily filled in at quarterback following injuries to signal callers Terry Wilson and Sawyer Smith. All he did was go 6-2 as the Cats’ starter and was named the SEC’s Offensive Player of the Week on three occasions. He led the SEC in rushing in only eight games as Kentucky’s starting quarterback. Bowden racked up 1,369 yards and finished second in the nation after averaging 7.9 yards per carry. Furthermore, he stacked up three 200-yard games. Bowden topped off his final game as a Wildcat by rushing for 233 yards while scoring two touchdowns on the ground and throwing a game-winning touchdown with fifteen seconds remaining on the clock in the Belk Bowl.
The following are UK/SEC records that Lynn Bowden Jr. broke or tied:
-Most rushing yards by a quarterback school history (1,369 in eight games in 2019)
-Most rushing yards by a quarterback in a bowl game (233 vs. Virginia Tech in 2019 Belk Bowl)
-Most rushing yards in a game by a quarterback in SEC history (284 vs. Louisville in 2019)
-Tied the school records for most TDs in a game and most rushing TDs in a game (four vs. Louisville in 2019)
-Most 100-yard rushing games in a single season by a QB in school history (seven in 2019)
-Tied the school record for most 200-yard rushing games in a season and a career (three in 2019)
-Best yards per rushing attempt in a single season (7.9 in 2019)
-Most kick return yards in a single season (869 in 2017)
What round will Lynn Bowden be drafted? I have no clue. However, in a year in which the draft is unique in every manner imaginable, I’ll say it again: Just Watch the Darn Tape.