Bowman conditions himself to be one of the best
Sometimes size does not matter. Some guys can just play football.Good Counsel's A.J. Bowman is 5-foot-11, 225 pounds -- not prototypical size for a defensive lineman, but last year Bowman was anything but typical in his first year on the line.[+] EnlargeCourtesy Mike LovedayBowman is a two-time All-WCAC First Team selection.
Bowman previously played linebacker, but the Falcons had two linebackers, including national recruit Jelani Jenkins, ahead of him on the depth chart so Bowman was moved to nose guard.
The junior responded by being third on the team in tackles, recording more than 50 tackles and four sacks on the season. For his performance, Bowman was named first team All-Washington Catholic Athletic Conference (WCAC).
"He's quick off the ball and he's fast," Bowman's defensive line coach, Kevin McFadden, said. "He's got good leverage and reads his keys well. He's a hitter and he plays the game smart -- he's a smart football player."
Bowman attributes his athleticism to his parents. His mother played volleyball in college, his father played baseball in high school. The athletic background growing up has helped condition Bowman for the rigors of playing football -- literally.
"He's been doing 1,500 reps of jumping rope and 2,500 crunches ever since he was in the sixth grade," McFadden said. "And that's after practice. After two-a-days, he'd go home and his mom [told him] that's what he had to do."
"That's my mom. It was to stay in shape in the offseason because I didn't play a winter sport," Bowman said. "I'm just used to it now. I get tired, but not that much. I feel that the other team is more tired than I am [by the fourth quarter]."
For his senior season, Bowman is expected to move back to linebacker -- the position that McFadden thinks Bowman is more likely to end up playing in college.
McFadden, who played college football at the University of Cincinnati, compares Bowman to another 5-11 defensive lineman -- Cincinnati's Brandon Mills.
Mills is a redshirt freshman with the Bearcats who played at Colerain (Cincinnati, Ohio) and recorded 76 tackles and 13 sacks during his senior season.
"He's not as big as that guy [Mills] right now, but he's [Bowman] starting to get thicker and he's not losing any speed. There are a lot of similarities there, but if you look at it in that context he could be a pretty decent defensive tackle," McFadden said. "I think he'll be a whole lot better linebacker, but he's just an athlete all the way around. You can put him anywhere on the field and he'll do well."
Delaware has expressed interest in Bowman as a linebacker and Bowman is heading to several college one-day camps this summer, including camps at Towson, Northeastern and Temple. Florida International and Liberty have also expressed interest in Bowman.
Bowman also plays right field for Good Counsel's baseball team, and as a sophomore he batted .489. Bowman said Virginia Tech, Virginia and Florida Atlantic are recruiting him in baseball.
"He'll wind up playing in college somewhere, it's just a matter of where," McFadden said.
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Mike Loveday covers high school sports for ESPNRISE.com. Mike can be reached at Michael.Loveday@espn.com
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