Before Lynn Bowden was a Paul Hornung Award winner. Before he was an SEC quarterback. Before Lynn Bowden was a team captain, he was a young, four-star talent searching for playing time.
“I came in, had a lot of learning to do. I don’t think I was ready for it yet. It was a lot for me,” Lynn Bowden said on Kentucky Sports Radio.
The maturation process included more than one speed bump. If Lynn did not receive significant snaps in a game during his first season, fans waited with bated breath to see how he would respond on Twitter. Many of his messages were ambiguous. You could not tell if he was sub-Tweeting the coaches or relaying music lyrics. Other times his criticism was more direct.
“They (the coaches) was telling me I could come in and make a difference, so I thought that’s what I was going to do. But I had to learn. There were a lot of veterans here. We had a lot of good players in front of me so I had to be patient. A lot of times it was hard for me because I always went in and started (before). It was hard.”
It was so hard that at one point Bowden admitted he considered leaving UK. He did not try to dodge the question from a listener.
“To be honest with you, yeah. I kinda got down on myself and thought this wasn’t the place for me. I had to sit down with my family and Coach Stoops and talk. That’s the part where I learned how to become patient. He just broke it down to me. People always say that stuff was given to me. Stuff was never given to me; I had to earn it. I just had to learn that.”
In that meeting Mark Stoops preached patience to his young star athlete. Bowden trusted Stoops’ word because of the connection the Youngstown men created over years.
“I always say he was like a father figure to me, more of a Dad than a coach,” Bowden said of Stoops. “He knew me. He knew the struggles I had. Youngstown boy, he knew the background and how to go about things with me. I’ll always thank him until the day I go off this Earth because he didn’t have to take a shot on me.”
Along with Stoops, Bowden always had Vince Marrow in his corner. His top lobbyist to play quarterback following the onslaught on injuries in the QB room, you cannot convince the Big Dog there has ever been a better player to wear a Kentucky football uniform. Vince always believed Bowden could exceed his potential at the culmination of his Kentucky career.
“He’s straightforward,” Bowden said. “He’s going to tell you what it is and what it ain’t. What he’s telling you is definitely true because I listened to him and look at me.”
The Lynn Bowden we first met in 2017 is not the same Lynn Bowden that threw a touchdown pass to Josh Ali on his final play as a Kentucky Wildcat. He could not have done it without his coaches.
“Over three years they helped me mature and become a man.”