A Q&A WITH DEVIN BOWMAN:
Georgia is now up to six commitments for its football recruiting class of 2011. But easily the most refreshing surprise for the Bulldogs so far was the pledge of Rossville’s Devin Bowman. The dynamic two-way athlete from Ridgeland High committed to UGA after a visit to Athens last weekend. What makes Bowman’s decision surprising? UGA had much going against it. Bowman’s older brother Michael Bowman is a sophomore wide receiver at Alabama and Devin had expressed a desire to play with him in college. Also, Michael Bowman went Bama’s way in part because of an embarrassing situation that occurred in 2007 when his parents, Tara and Terrance Bowman, were on an official recruiting visit at UGA. Their oldest son, Adarius Bowman, was a star wide receiver for Oklahoma State and the Bowmans were decked out in Cowboys’ orange and black for the game. They were told by UGA recruiting officials if they wanted to sit in their seats in the recruits’ section they needed to change. They chose to leave. But all that appears to be water under the bridge now as Georgia coach Mark Richt smoothed over things with Ms. Bowman and the Bulldogs won over both the family and their youngest son. In the process not only did Georgia get a play-making cornerback (six interceptions as a junior, two for TDs) with size (6-feet, 175 pounds) it so desires, but also an athlete with offensive skills (965 yards rushing, 11 TDs, 1 kickoff return TD, 1 punt return TD). I talked to Bowman on the phone Thursday and here’s a Q&A from that conversation:
Q: So congratulations on your commitment. What has the reaction been there in Rossville?
A. “Right now I’m mostly hearing congratulations. Everybody here is happy about it. It’s big Bulldog country here. It really is. So the feedback has been real positive. Other than that I’ve just concentrating on my schoolwork.”
Q: Was it a difficult choice for you with Michael playing ball over at Alabama?
A: “I mean, it was kind of hard because at the beginning I really wanted to go to Alabama with my brother. But since I’ve been going over to Georgia they’ve made me happy and they really made my mom happy. That’s a big plus. And another plus, it feels like me just being at home. I love the state of Georgia. That’s why.”
Q: What did Georgia do to win over your mother?
A: “I think the thing is, what really got her, was their promise that they’re going to take care of me as a parent would, even though they’re not my parents. I can’t remember exactly what they told her but the big thing was that they were going to take care of me and I guess she liked that because she was really loving them.”
Q: Now if I understand it correctly, you still haven’t received an official offer from Alabama. Does that bother you?
A: “No, sir. I mean, it kind of does to a point. I’m not trying to say anything to brag but I know I’m good. If I wasn’t good I wouldn’t have the offers I have now. So it does [bother me]. But at the end of the day I guess Georgia was the best for me.”
Q: So what happens if Bama comes forth with an offer now? Is that going to shake up your recruitment?
A: “No, sir. I’m positive about this. I’m a Bulldog. It really doesn’t matter [what Alabama does].”
Q: You play running back at Ridgeland High and a lot of schools are recruiting you at that position. But the Bulldogs want you as a cornerback all the way, right?
A: “I’m going there to be a corner but the offensive coordinator, Coach [Mike] Bobo, really wants me to play offense. So I’m going to touch the ball somewhat, kind of like what they’re doing with Branden Smith.”
Q: Is there any one person or player that you’ve become particularly close to at Georgia?
A: “Coach [Stacy] Searels. I really like him a lot. He’s a cool guy. He went to Trion.”
Q: So what’s next for you? Do you plan to attend any camps this summer? Are you going to take any more visits or does this shut down your recruitment altogether?
A: “Right now I’m going to Georgia but I’m still going to take some visits just to see other colleges. I’m going to take a few visits.”