CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- It's hard to stand out in a Nike Football Training Camp with so much talent assembled. Even elite prospects can find the competition daunting.
However, sophomore Aggadoria Bowers did just that, despite being rusty from not playing last season because of a torn anterior cruciate ligament that is still not 100 percent.
"I think I did good," the receiver from Bamberg-Ehrhardt (S.C.) said. "I could have done better. I didn't get as many reps as I wanted, but other than that I think I did good."
Reps were tough to come by Sunday, but they were impossible last year after Bowers suffered a serious knee injury last June.
"I tried to juke, made a cut and my knee just buckled," the 6-foot-4, 190-pound prospect said. "It wasn't a painful feeling. It actually tickled. It was like a vibration in my knee."
College coaches didn't seem to mind when it came to recruiting Bowers, who is a cousin of Tampa Bay Buccaneers defensive end Da'Quan Bowers. Recruiters from Arizona, Florida, Pittsburgh and Miami had seen enough of Bowers as a freshman. They offered him a scholarship based on his 2010 season when he caught 24 passes for 316 yards and scored six touchdowns. He even picked off two passes in spot duty as a free safety.
Coaches from North Carolina concurred. They offered Bowers a scholarship after seeing him in spring practice last month.
When it comes to choosing a college, Bowers is wide open, as one would expect from an underclassman.
"It doesn't matter," Bowers said of traveling far from home to play college football. "As long as I can go somewhere where I can get an education."
Bowers will worry about his college decision later. Right now, he's just happy to be back on the field after being forced to watch his team last season.
"It feels great," he said. "I was so hungry last season. I was on the sideline itching to get back on the field. One game we almost lost and I wanted to pad up and get out there."
Bamberg-Ehrhardt High School still had a successful season, even with Bowers on the sideline. The team posted an 11-2 record and was agonizingly close to a state title. Ehrhardt was eliminated in the semifinals. It's hard not to imagine what might have happened if Bowers hadn't gotten hurt.
"It was kind of tough, just sitting out waiting," assistant coach Kevin Crosby said of Bowers' plight. "He worked hard in the weight room and rehabbed himself. It's hard watching other kids play, especially in the games we lost because he felt he could have made a difference."
At least Bamberg-Ehrhardt's coaches knew what they had to deal with, since the injury occurred before the season. Still, it caused a vast change for the team, which is a true testament to Bowers' ability.
"It was tough because coming in we knew he was going to be a big factor," Crosby said. "It was a big impact when he went down. We had to change our game plan on offense. Right now, we're just happy to have him back. He looks good running. He's probably about 95 percent. It's a blessing to have him back right now."
With better health and continued growth and development, it's easy to envision Bowers as an elite prospect in the 2014 class.
"He's got so much upside, it's crazy," Crosby said. "He's improving on his route running. He's got great hands. He's got big hands. He attacks the ball in the air. He's got a lot of upside.
"He's going to be a big-time receiver for a college."