Lynn Bowden is the 23rd commitment and highest-ranked recruit in Mark Stoops’ 2017 class. Here’s how Bowden can help the team immediately and what it means for Kentucky in the big picture.
Big Play Ability
When the Cats lost Boom Williams to the NFL, they lost a player who could bust open any given play for six. That’s exactly what Lynn Bowden can do. Listed as an athlete, he could play running back, wide receiver or Wildcat quarterback. Wherever he plays, he’s liable to pop one at any given moment.
Landing an Elite Athlete
The Kentucky football program has landed a handful of five-star players, but they’re usually linemen or pocket-passers from the state of Kentucky.
During Mark Stoops’ illustrious recruiting tenure at Kentucky, only Landon Young, Drake Jackson and Drew Barker were ranked higher by the 247 Composite Rankings. The highest-ranked skills players — C.J. Conrad and Boom Williams — were ranked lower than Bowden.
Improvement in the Short Passing Game
Screens and shallow drags were the foundation of UK’s pro style offense under Rich Brooks. Last year it took half a season before they could consistently turn short passes into big plays. These passes take pressure off the quarterback’s arm and away from the pass rush. Bowden and early enrollee Clevan Thomas are athletes that should dramatically improve this important part of the offense.
Possibly a Game-Changing Returner
The easiest way to get a ball into an athlete’s hands is to let him return kicks. The Cats finally got a return touchdown from Charles Walker last season, but they still need to take a kickoff to the house. If they put Bowden back there, anything is possible.
Stoops Owns Youngstown, Marrow Owns Ohio
Kentucky’s 2016 defense was led by a trio from Youngstown: Courtney Love, Marcus McWilson and Jordan Jones. Now Stoops has Youngstown’s best athlete on the offensive side of the ball. The gritty rust belt belongs to the youngest Stoops brother.
The same can be said about Vince Marrow and the entire state of Ohio. No matter how good they are or what part of the state they are from, Marrow has the connection to attract any prospect to Lexington. Marrow’s only competition is Ohio State.
If the Cats’ trajectory continues to trend upwards…I’ll never doubt Mr. Marrow ever, ever again.
Kentucky Capitalized on Momentum
When the 27-point underdogs went to Louisville and beat the Heisman Trophy winner, Mark Stoops received rare offseason momentum. It’s safe to say he has seized the moment. Since the UofL game he’s received nine commitments. One is the nation’s best JUCO safety, one is a Top 10 edge rusher and Bowden is arguably the state of Ohio’s best athlete. Kentucky’s win over Louisville did much more than get them to a New Year’s Eve bowl.