- Tom VanHaaren, ESPN Staff Writer
New Jersey seems to be the home of some of the top-ranked prospects year in and year out, and this class is no different. Some of the most highly ranked football recruits and Snooki call New Jersey their home, and that includes defensive end Tashawn Bower (Somerville, N.J./Immaculata).
Bower (6-foot5, 230 pounds) has racked up offers from Arkansas, UCLA, Michigan, Florida, Florida State, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Oklahoma, among others. An impressive offer sheet for how early it is in the process.
Bower doesn’t have a leader yet. He said he is wide open to any program.
“I guess you could say the SEC schools have stood out. A lot of those schools are big-time offers,” he said. “Any school that offers me, though, I’m looking at. I haven’t narrowed anything down yet.”
With around 26 offers, narrowing his list will be a tough task that will take some time. He has already taken visits to a few schools, but would like to get out to as many campuses as he can in the near future.
“I might go out to Ohio State for the spring game. I know I’m going to Michigan, Michigan State, Notre Dame, LSU and some of the Southern schools,” he said. “Probably Oklahoma and South Carolina again. I’ve been to Ohio State twice and South Carolina once.”
There was a lot of buzz surrounding Bower when he received his Michigan offer because his father is a Wolverines fan. However, Bower says his dad’s fandom won’t factor into his recruitment, and that his father hasn’t been pushing him one way or the other.
“I’m sure he was excited [when Michigan offered], but I don’t think he wanted to express it, which I think is good,” he said. “He doesn’t show the fan side, and he wants to make sure I’m choosing a school for me.”
Bower actually grew up watching running back Fred Taylor at Florida, but understands the tradition behind Michigan and is excited to take a trip to Ann Arbor to see if that’s the school that fits him best.
Choosing the right school for him means finding a place that he feels comfortable as a student and as a football player. On his visits he would really like a chance to sit down with the coaches and the current players to make sure he fits in with the team.
While his father being a Michigan fan won’t necessarily help the Wolverines, the coaching staff might.
“(Having defensive coordinator Greg Mattison) is something that helps out a lot, knowing that he coached at the highest level,” he said. “You know you’re going to get the highest-level coaching as a college athlete with that kind of coach.”
6dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy
7dMitch Sherman and Dan Murphy