Nigel Bowden, 4-star LB, commits to Vanderbilt (UPDATED)

LB Nigel Bowden picked Vanderbilt over Georgia Tech (AJC)

Vanderbilt LB recruit Nigel Bowden (AJC)

One of Georgia’s top linebackers has committed to Vanderbilt.

Nigel Bowden, a chiseled 6-foot, 237-pound linebacker from Central Macon High School, said he picked the Commodores over his runner-up, Georgia Tech, which appeared to be on the brink of offering a football scholarship. Bowden held offers from Vanderbilt, Louisville, Mississippi State and Ole Miss, while Tennessee was also very close.

“I wasn’t planning on committing today but it just felt right,” Bowden told the AJC. “I was planning on going back to Georgia Tech for another Junior Day, and then going back to Vanderbilt. But today, everything came together.

“I love the coaches. Coach [James Franklin] is so passionate about everything with football. He doesn’t really talk a lot about putting players in the NFL, like other schools do. The other ones send you mail about all the guys they’ve put into the NFL.

“Vanderbilt sends you mail talking about academics and education. Coach Franklin doesn’t want to bring up the NFL because [a low percentage] of college players make it. He said the NFL doesn’t stand for the National Football League … but for ‘Not For Long.’

Vanderbilt was the first school to offer a football scholarship to Bowden, giving him the news around this time last year during his spring practice.

“I was always leaning to Vanderbilt,” Bowden said. “I felt like Georgia Tech was kind of holding back on me. I felt like they were trying to see what another linebacker would do, with the decision he would make, and then come back to me like I was a backup. With Vanderbilt, they have always wanted me really bad.”

What about UGA? “My new head coach [at Central] was telling me that Georgia was starting to get interested,” Bowden said. “They came to the school once, maybe … not too many times. I really didn’t feel like they showed me any interest. I know they only recruit tall linebackers. I wanted to go to a school like Vanderbilt or Georgia Tech because they take smaller linebackers and I have enough size to play in their schemes.”

The Rivals 4-star recruit has a 3.55 GPA and is ranked near the top of his senior class. He had minor knee surgery last summer but was 100 percent by the start of last season.

He was also impressed with the city of Nashville.

“It’s a great city and really diverse. They call it Music City but there’s more there to do than just country music. Coach Franklin said he didn’t even like country music, and that wasn’t his thing. Everybody around Nashville is nice. I think it was voted as the city with the third-nicest people, or something like that. I love Nashville. There’s a mixture of everything there.”

Note: Just to clarify, Bowden said he did not have an offer from Georgia Tech. He was led to believe by a Georgia Tech assistant that he would likely have an offer if he met with Yellow Jackets coach Paul Johnson in person this spring. Bowden said now that he’s committed to Vanderbilt, he will not likely make the trip to Georgia Tech.

OVER THE WEEKEND

MARCH MADNESS, WHAT’S THAT? RECRUITING MADNESS!

WHILE YOUR BRACKETS GOT MESSED UP …

– By Michael Carvell, AJC Recruiting Blog

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

Got an item? mcarvell@ajc.com

  • So much is happening so fast. Have you missed anything over the last few days? Catch up with our feed by CLICKING HERE
  • BOOKMARK the NEW AJC Recruiting homepage here
  • Want to see a list of the top 125 prospects state of Georgia who signed with D1 schools? It’s looong. Go here.

Note: Inappropriate BLOG comments and personal attacks will NOT be tolerated. We love the lively discussions but hate-filled, harassing and irresponsible comments are unacceptable.

Please Follow me on Twitter @RecruitingAJC + Please be my Facebook friend here

79 comments Add your comment

wayxbulldawg

March 25th, 2012
7:29 am

GT Bob

March 25th, 2012
7:53 am

Wow, we’re highlighted in the sports section twice today. Another great day to be a Jacket.

sportsfan

March 25th, 2012
8:06 am

Just curiuos how can a 3.55 GPA be ranked near the top of your class?

sportsfan

March 25th, 2012
8:07 am

LakeDawg

March 25th, 2012
8:34 am

I’m not trolling here. I would like for Tech to field competitive teams. But there has to be concern if your a Tech man. The Jackets are losing recruits to Vandy now. I thought CPJ was a pretty good coach, but Tech’s recruiting has fallen off the cliff since his hire.

ed

March 25th, 2012
8:35 am

its become all too obvious young men of this day and time do not want to play for that prick paul johnson

Cdpridg

March 25th, 2012
8:36 am

Where is the tech man that argued a couple weeks ago that tech outrecruits Vandy. Franklin will outrecruit PJ in his sleep!

SouthGaBrave

March 25th, 2012
9:00 am

sportsfan,

You’ve obviously never been to Macon. A 3.55 may make him the validictorian at Central. This kid will be one of the few in his graduating class to not be behind a McDonald’s counter.

Congrats Nigel. Wish you would’ve waited to give UGA a chance, but you made the best decision for yourself and will be getting an education while competing at an SEC school.

reality

March 25th, 2012
9:04 am

where can I go to find a list of Tech 2012 committments?

reality

March 25th, 2012
9:06 am

and 2013 committments?

A Father

March 25th, 2012
9:09 am

I love the fact that Franklin is raising the competition for recruiting. Ga has to wake up!!!!!

GA is loaded with football players, no one knows who will raise their level in college but one thing is for sure, stars dont mean much.

Moobs Johnson

March 25th, 2012
9:10 am

We really didn’t want him anyways. We prefer to go after more of the Middle Tennessee St / Elon type of athletes.

Gorilla Biscuit

March 25th, 2012
9:17 am

“where can I go to find a list of Tech 2012 committments?”

You could get in your DeLorean, get it up to 88mph and jump to January 2013. They might have one by then.

WnE

March 25th, 2012
9:43 am

re:
Just curiuos how can a 3.55 GPA be ranked near the top of your class?
_________________

Depends on how you define “near”.

Since he is going for a FB scholly, his 3.55 might be a college prep GPA vs. a student with a higher GPA that isn’t college prep.

Also, “near” could mean top-20 students or top 20 percent or top 5 percent, we’re not really sure what “near” really means.

Cdpridg

March 25th, 2012
10:06 am

Ed…Johnson is the perfect coach for tech…same qualities as the tech fans except that I do believe Johnson at some point in his life attempted to punch players and or fans of his competition…what a sore loser…perfect leader of the bug community

[...] Johnson gets hit with a double whammy on the recruiting trail:  losing one in state kid to James Franklin’s less than inspiring sales pitch (“He doesn’t really talk a lot [...]

DrFutBol

March 25th, 2012
10:37 am

Johnny O Neal was only 230 lbs, and @6 foot. UGA wasn’t impressed with Bowden, had nothing to do with his size or academics. But they really liked O Neal. Bowden can say that it was about his size to try and make him feel better, but, as O Neal proved, it wasn’t about size, more about his current talent level and future potential.

Rick James

March 25th, 2012
11:11 am

And CPJ misses again…I’m wondering where the Tech guy is who a while back was arguing that James Franklin is not taking players from under CPJ’’s nose that qualify to play at Tech.Face it Tech fans your coach is a weak recruiter..

Bob Horner

March 25th, 2012
11:11 am

Ga Tech getting destroyed in recruiting. Until the program installs a real offense that actually utilizes and can execute the forward pass, upgrades it’s retread of a defensive coordinator and actually puts some emphasis on special teams, it will continue to deteriorate. Even mid-rate ACC teams have learned to deal with the high school offense.

Randall "Pink" Floyd

March 25th, 2012
11:27 am

James Franklin can’t even come up with his own lines. Now he’s stealing them from Jerry Glanville. Priceless. Congrats to Nigel.

U

March 25th, 2012
11:34 am

DrFutBol no need to rip this kid – nobody’s confusing him with Johnny O’Neal and he didn’t say anything negative about UGA.

Tossed Salad

March 25th, 2012
11:38 am

Hey guys, Johnson and Tech will have a smaller class this year. They can afford to be selective.

Try saying that three times with a straight face.

Rick James

March 25th, 2012
12:00 pm

@Tossed Salad

Hey guys, Johnson and Tech will have a smaller class this year. They can afford to be selective.

Try saying that three times with a straight face
————————————————————
Nice..

Cdpridg

March 25th, 2012
12:02 pm

I hope they keep PJ a long, long time…did, you guys know he is the second coming of Bobby Dodd….lol at the bug community

Commodore

March 25th, 2012
1:06 pm

UGA held back because there were lingering concerns about his knee injury. If it was on talent only he would have been offered by Georgia, UF, and Bama (according to Rivals.com) but the knee injury had some concerned. Even though apparently he is back to his pre-injury form and doing well some teams were still concerned.

A Father

March 25th, 2012
1:49 pm

N Bowdon is a top 5 LB in GA for 2013 class. This is a huge pickup by Vandy.

David

March 25th, 2012
2:16 pm

How can he pick Vandy over GT when he didn’t even have a GT offer?

bitter coach grantham

March 25th, 2012
2:39 pm

tech is fall-in apart————-cpj just wont wake up——-run a full spread offence and all will change

——-or win the acc this year

Chuck

March 25th, 2012
2:40 pm

I have been a loyal Tech fan for years , but it is sickening watching the arrogance of our coaching staff play politics with kids ! We seem to have one option and not be able to keep any other option on table ! It will be a guarantee that our # one option picks another school then we will be scrambling for plan C and D ! Plan Bs always long gone. . Other schools engage into a large pool of prospects and keep interest level until pieces fall in place ! I watch our pieces go out window one by one ! Bottom line he is right – Tech has slow played him and I don’t blame him one bit !

Bad Dawg

March 25th, 2012
2:41 pm

Good pickup for Vandy. Come on PJ get the Tech recruiting train rolling and Go Dawgs!

bitter coach grantham

March 25th, 2012
2:41 pm

dawgs rule recruiting—-including bamma turds

Stinger2

March 25th, 2012
3:44 pm

Why are so many of you GT fans panicking at this point. CPJ has said he may not be able to sign but 13 players (to stay within the 85 limit)and that he would be selective.

Ghost

March 25th, 2012
4:27 pm

PJ recruits like a AA program, thinks he can out evaluate other coaches, If Saban, Richt, Chizik, Miles, Meyer, Fisher thinks someones a player then he’s probably a player. Pj doesn’t evaluate talent as well as the ones he’s trying to out evaluate and doesn’t develop the ones he gets. Vandy is beginning to sign players that might have gone to tech.

Cdpridg

March 25th, 2012
4:29 pm

Iwill say that if ol Franklin dont like country music…which from his demeanor and lack of character we could not have ever guessed that one…he aint going to like Tennessee…he aint going to like Nashville either…country music capital of the world. He may be better off taking his chapped rearend up to Mass or somewhere to coachball

Cdpridg

March 25th, 2012
4:31 pm

PJ is full of it…poor techies has them thinking he is a messiah. Going to get alot uglier on the flats…lucky he can mask it better in the ACC

Cdpridg

March 25th, 2012
5:06 pm

Ghost…if he could out evaluate the top coaches in the south he would not be the head coach at Tech….he would have a better gig.

JD

March 25th, 2012
5:26 pm

Had not been offered by Tech or UGA. Just the AJC needing some controversy. Will be a small recruiting class for Tech this year so let’s make sure they are really ready to commit and won’t change their mind at the last minute.

Ghost

March 25th, 2012
6:53 pm

Cdpridg, I agree, He’s in way over his head at tech.IMHO he will be back in Southern Conference with a season or two. The guy had no experience on this level it shows .

Wet Willie...keep on smiling

March 25th, 2012
7:16 pm

Franklin might wish to watch what he says about country music. Perhaps those 27 fans that attend Vandy home games might be country musice fans thus the ticket sales might be cut in half! JMO but if Franklin has some success this year and another bowl he will take any gig that is open in 2012. The SEC needs to demand any team in the SEC have a stadium that seats no less than 60K.

Albert

March 25th, 2012
7:43 pm

When Vandy starts outrecruiting you, your football program is has sunken to an all time low.

Cocophilly

March 25th, 2012
8:33 pm

Proud of you Nigel!!! No hate for GA Tech or UGA but Vandy Has The Best To Offer in Education and Football SEC! We Love Our GEORGIA COLLEGES,BUT WHEN YOU STAND 17 (VANDERBILT) IN THE COUNTRY, VERSUS 143 OR LOWER, PLEASE TELL ME HOW THAT WAS A HARD CHOSE? NIGEL IS 23 IN HIS CLASS !

Podunk Offense

March 25th, 2012
8:37 pm

Just think how far along GT would be right now if their genius AD had hired Cutcliffe rather than Johnson. GT’s recruiting has slipped way below Virginia and is barely (and I mean barely) ahead of Duke.

Oblama

March 25th, 2012
10:31 pm

Bowden was rated much higher than O’Neal (247sport.com)) who just just committed to UGA but Scout & Rivals rated O’Neal higher.

Dawg1

March 25th, 2012
10:43 pm

CJF is doing an outstanding job at Vandy. Just give him credit for getting a great kid. Looks like a terrific fit for the kid and the University.

yellowfever

March 25th, 2012
10:50 pm

Coach Johnson, The Tech faithful need to hear from you and we need to know what if any plans you have to turning this recruiting nightmare going on 5 years now is going to change. I’m afraid the reason were not hearing from you is because you don’t know how to fix this problem. Were in SERIOUS DO DO boys and girls.

WnE

March 25th, 2012
11:01 pm

RELAX!

Things will pick up for GT when Coach Fish Fry gets down to his “C” & “D” List guys, at that point he’ll excite the fanbase with some snarky comments about the recruiting services not knowing crap about talent, and how they got the “guys they needed”, and “that they all come highly recommended”.

Then he’ll yuk it up with Wes and things will be wonderful in Yellow jacket-land.

The Realist

March 26th, 2012
6:12 am

@ all the Tech fans….it’s not that CPJ doesn’t want these kids that the other colleges are swooping in to “steal” them, CPJ waits too long before he has a one on one meeting with these kids and offers them. When he gets the player in his office, he bashes the other colleges that HAVE offered the player. The recruit leaves his office pissed that that was the chosen approach for him and his parent(s). Essentially, CPJ is running off his recruits because of his negative recruiting tactics……and for anyone that’s about to comment……I KNOW this Personally….been there, done that!

yellowfever

March 26th, 2012
7:41 am

Tech might not even be able to get the 13-15 recruits for the 2012 class at this rate. Good Grief Charlie Johnson.

Todd Grantham

March 26th, 2012
7:55 am

They dont talk about the NFL cause they dont put anybody in the league. How many football players from Vandy actually graduate with an Enginering degree??

GT is a 4th rate high school team

March 26th, 2012
8:21 am

LOL. No recruits have committed yet to GT. Time to close the store. I guess all the recruits this year goes to WALMART. LOL.