Da’Quan Bowers Takes Step Back In TimeNovember 29th, 2011
When Under Armour held its first All-American high school all star game back in 2008, Da’Quan Bowers became the inaugural MVP.
Today, Bowers stepped back in time, sort of. The second round pick of the Bucs, who made his first NFL start last week, came to Tropicana Field to present three local high school players with their Under Armour jerseys in advance of the Jan. 5 game to be held in the Tampa Bay Rays home stadium.
Berkeley Prep’s Nelson Agholor, Lakewood’s Dante Fowler Jr. and Southeast’s Brian Poole were the honorees of Bowers handed the jerseys to the three future college football stars.
But of the three it seemed Bowers already had a bond with Fowler. Like Bowers, Fowler, who has verbally committed to Florida State, is a defensive end.
He sees a lot of himself in Bowers and the two seemed to have struck up a friendship.
“I feel like at one time, he was in the same shoes as I am in now,” Fowler said of the Bucs rookie.
Fowler, a Bucs fan, knows all about how Bowers had a knee injury during his playing days at Clemson that not only hurt his draft stock, but some believed he wouldn’t play football again.
The fact Bowers is now starting in the NFL motivates Fowler.
“I look at it as confidence,” Fowler said of Bowers’ battle. “If he can do it, I can as well. It means a lot. To go through the hard road, you can’t let things get to you. You do what you have to do and be the best you can be. Keep fighting. That’s what he has done.”
“This definitely brings back memories,” Bowers said. “This game lets you do something that you love one last time at the high school level. From then on, you’re going to be representing your family, your high school, your town and most of all, yourself. The name on the back and the logo on the side of the helmet is always going to be your identity, and I think these guys are going to do a good job at the next level.
“The game has helped me bond with guys I am grateful to have met and developed friendships that will last beyond a lifetime, guys I met like A.J. Green and Julio Jones, who is a freak of nature trying to track him down. That will happen for Dante and the rest of those guys too.”
But Bowers seemed almost sheepish talking about himself, instead wanting the three high school players to enjoy their day under the klieg lights of TV.
“It’s not easy to be a student-athlete,” Bowlers said. “To be one of 90 to be named All American, that’s unbelievable. I’m happy to help these guys get some publicity. Being a student-athlete is not easy.”
Some information provided by Intersport.