Brock Bowers: Nation’s No. 3 TE feels ‘Athens is different’ after his latest visit
Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel brings. This edition will break down how the nation’s No. 3 TE (247Sports Composite rankings) Brock Bowers now feels about UGA after his latest trip to Athens.
We have chronicled many visits to check out the University of Georgia in this space, but the recent one made by Brock Bowers belongs in a category unto itself.
Can’t call it an official. Or an unofficial. We might just have to call it a “Bowers” and leave it at that.
The All-American Bowl commitment from Napa in California just took his second out-of-pocket trip this year to check out UGA. That’s despite some obvious obstacles.
Global pandemic? Quarantine? Cross-country flight? An NCAA recruiting ban on on-campus visits? Can’t meet in person with any of the Georgia coaches on his trip?
Bowers was undeterred. He put the Heisman pose to all of those potential drawbacks. Kind of like this embedded clip below.
Missing the practice vibes 🤞 #3 pic.twitter.com/WsIhiUu8wB
— Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) May 21, 2020
He knew he needed to check out Athens one more time before his college decision. Bowers did say that he still feels like he will need another out-of-pocket trip to Washington at the end of this month. But that’s not to say the visit didn’t meet his expectations.
“It was a good trip,” Bowers told DawgNation on Saturday night. “Just got to see a lot. Got to refresh my memory on Athens and Georgia and everything. So it was good.”
For starters, he needed a second trip without the rush of his first unofficial during the last open period for college visits. That one, he said, was rushed.
“It felt pretty much the same as I remembered,” Bowers said. “It was good.”
This one began with a 2 a.m. arrival into Athens last Friday. He then met up with 2021 commitments Brock Vandagriff and Chaz Chambliss for a power breakfast later that morning at Mama’s Boy in Athens.
The 2-day visit concluded with a trip to the Vandagriff home. The 5-star QB was at his grandmother’s house, but the Bowers family was able to hang with the rest of the Vandagriffs a little while longer.
For the Bulldogs, this off-the-cuff visit was somehow fitting. That’s because the connection Bowers feels to Georgia has never largely been about a facility or a locker room. Not even one of those breathless moments looking at an empty Sanford Stadium.
It has always been about people and that was his biggest takeaway about UGA from this trip, too.
“I think it is just like the relationship I have with the coaches there,” Bowers said. “I really like the coaches there and then my [potential] incoming class that’s coming in with me. I like Brock. I like Chaz and also talking with a couple of the other players that are already there like Ryland Goede. He just seems like a good dude. All those guys seem like good dudes over there. Ryland is a great dude. He’s great, man.”
That really stood out here.
“That’s pretty important,” Bowers said. “That’s who you are going to spend all of your time with year-round and associate yourself with.”
For the sake of transparency and complete accuracy, he had one other very strong opinion about The Classic City. It was about that big cinnamon roll at Mama’s Boy.
That delicacy made an impression. He also took down a dinner plate at The Porterhouse Grill in Athens, too. So at least he was able to eat like he was on an official visit.
Todd Hartley: The tight ends coach/virtual Athens tour guide
What happened in between that breakfast and that last visit with the Vandagriffs? Well, there’s a Todd Hartley story that comes to mind.
“We were just driving around and he was kind of on the phone with us,” Bowers said. “Kind of like instructing us and showing us around over the phone. So it was good.”
What was that like?
“Obviously Coach Hartley was a little bummed out that we couldn’t meet or anything in person,” Bowers said.
But then Bowers stopped what he was about to say. He let out a big giggle. It was just the way that Hartley interacted with his family on their virtual visit.
Except for this time he was in Athens. His potential position coach still had to bring the energy over a wi-fi connection. It sure sounded like that wasn’t a problem.
“He was just showing out,” Bowers said. “He just seemed like normal Hartley. All like juiced up and everything.”
Hartley even put together a tour guide document, too.
“He made us this little booklet thing and everything,” Bowers said, laughing again. “It was pretty funny. He gave us little points to do and everything. He just told us to call him if we had any questions and he’d just like to call us here and there on our visit to check in with us. It was good. It was really good.”
“The campus is awesome,” Bowers said. “I really liked the campus and I really liked downtown Athens. It is pretty cool down there, too. And then just like it is just cool and it is just not like California at all. Athens is different.”
There wasn’t anything set in stone on the trip. Everything was pretty laid-back, he said. He said he also spoke with Kirby Smart on the phone, too. He was in town for a rushed “Junior Day” visit on his last trip to UGA.
“We actually got to see campus this time and got to see around Athens,” Bowers said. “We had more time to see around town yet.”
His mother and father joined him on the trip. What did they think?
“Shoot, I thought they thought the same things about Athens,” he said on Saturday night. “They thought the people were great there. I haven’t really talked to them a ton about it all yet. I probably will tonight or tomorrow.”
Why did Brock Bowers need to see Athens again?
His own words share what he is thinking best.
“I had not been back here in a decent amount of time,” he said. “I am trying to make my college decision before the season starts. So I’m just trying to knock out the visit and refresh my mind and see where I am at and everything.”
This will be, he believes, his last chance to check out UGA before he makes up his mind. Does he have any remaining questions about the Bulldogs?
“Shoot,” he said. “Not really. Not anything that I can’t ask over the phone or anything.”
The young man with the 4.33 GPA looked at the matter this way: He can’t take an official visit on his own. So he had to reimagine and recreate one of his own. As best he could.
“I don’t know how long it is still going to be until you can actually take an official,” he said. “So I was just like we can just do this and it can basically act like one.”
That breakfast with 2021 class commitments Chambliss and Vandagriff replaced the in-person interaction with the Georgia staff. UGA had to sell itself in a different way this time. His potential teammates were the principal ambassadors here. He said he also got to hang out or text or talk with John FitzPatrick and Ryland Goede, too.
“It was good being able to sit down and talk with them face to face and get to know them more,” Bowers said of Chambliss and Vandagriff. “They would be the guys I would be going in with. So it was good to sit down and talk with them.”
He said they didn’t talk a lot about recruiting during that breakfast.
“Just getting to know each other,” he said. “Just being around each other and just talking a little bit.”
Where is Brock Bowers at with his decision now?
He named his top 8 back on April 5.
— Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) April 5, 2020
He told DawgNation on Saturday night that he no longer has eight schools on his mind. That said, don’t expect him to release a formal cut down to a top 3 or a top 4.
Bowers said he’s already let some of the coaches at those schools in that top 8 know what is up with his process.
“It is smaller than that,” Bowers said. “I’ve said no and talked to some of the coaches that I have been in contact with and just told them that you guys are not really up there anymore. I’ve just let a few of them know.”
Does he have any more Bowers officials (like this one) in mind outside of the chance to visit with the Huskies?
“I’m not totally sure yet,” he said. “We might have to plan another one somewhere else. But we are getting up to Washington at the end of the month.”
He knows when he’d like to decide. That’s before his senior season, but he will not force the issue.
“That’s what I’d like to see happen here,” Bowers said. “But if I am not ready then I am not going to rush anything.”
Bowers said he expects a statement this week from the governing body for California high school sports about the status of the 2020 varsity football season going forward.
“At some point,” he said. “We will know a lot more this week.”
Brock Bowers: Why he is such a big 2021 target
The 4-star from Napa is THE target at tight end for Georgia in the 2021 class. It appears that Hartley has pushed all his chips to the middle of the table with this one.
That’s because Georgia doesn’t really have an athlete in the program at the TE spot. Check this recent tweet out for proof of that.
Let’s get it started 🕺🕺 pic.twitter.com/VwEDeoeasi
— Brock Bowers (@brockbowers17) June 22, 2020
DawgNation might recall former Bulldog tight end, Charlie Woerner, doing that in high school, too. Woerner didn’t really get enough credit for his athletic ability, but Bowers makes that feat look even more fluid.
There’s more than just that to consider here with Bowers.
He timed at 4.55 seconds on the laser in the 40 at an Opening regional in 2019. That combine showing for him that day, when he had just an offer from Nevada at the time, also included a 40-inch vertical.
That really sent his stock soaring. His 2019 junior film only elevated that.
He turned 14 of his 39 catches into TDs in 2019. He averaged 28 yards per catch. It followed an 0-10 season in 2018.
He played tight end, running back, wide receiver, linebacker and punt returner for his team as a junior. He totaled up 355 rushing yards, including a pair of 100-yard games on the ground. He wrapped up 25 stops, eight tackles for losses and a sack at OLB.
The 2021 All-American Bowl commitment has caught 21 touchdowns over the last two seasons.
There was that season-opening game last fall in which he reeled in eight catches for 91 yards and two scores. He also had an 85-yard kickoff return for a touchdown in that contest.
Check out his junior highlight reel below.
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)
(the recent reads on DawgNation.com)
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