Bowman, Johnson talk ASU visit

On their way back home from the University of Arizona Woodland Hills (Calif.) Pierce College teammates Gerald Bowman and Oliver Johnson stopped over in Tempe for an unofficial visit. The two JC prospects spent several hours on the Sun Devil campus and spoke to Devils Digest about their impressions of that visit.

6-1 215 pound Gerald Bowman has established himself as one of the most coveted junior college safeties in the 2012 recruiting class. He has received offers from virtually the entire Pac-12, as well as Oklahoma, Miami (Fla.), Mississippi, South Florida and West Virginia.

As a freshman for the Brahmas he posted 58 tackles and one interception, and is scheduled to graduate in December and be a three for two player in terms of eligibility.

"We got there (to Arizona State) last night and we spent today over there," said Bowman. "This was my first time there and I was very impressed. We got to see the whole campus and the facilities and they were very nice. I love the new uniforms they have now, especially the black ones. I like the logo too. They are really sick.

"The thing I was most impressed was the academic support staff there. They really want to make sure that you get your degree and that is very important to me. They really care about your academic success. My home is back in Philadelphia, thousands of miles away, so if I'm going to go to a school on the west coast I want to make sure that I'm not wasting my time and I'm getting a good education. That is what it's all about."

Bowman has also been impressed with the Sun Devil defense and their style of play and believes he could be a good fit in this system.

"They run hard, they hit hard," Bowman stated. "They have a very good safety who wears no. 2 (Eddie Elder) and I know if I come there I can do the same things he does. I'm a fast player (reported a 40-yard dash time of 4.43) that plays with a lot of energy and that's the type of player that they want in their defense."

Bowman indicated that he also unofficially visited UCLA and USC, and said that he is contemplating an unofficial visit to Oregon in the summer. Since he visited Arizona just 24 hours before ASU he offered his comparison of both schools.

"There is a big difference I can tell you that," Bowman confessed. "The atmosphere at Arizona State is better."

Bowman, who is being recruited by linebackers coach Trent Bray, was offered by the Sun Devils shortly after his freshman season ended. They were the second program to offer him after South Florida did so earlier in the season. Following this past weekend's visit to Tempe, suffice to say that ASU has been able to significantly improve its standings among the throng of the safety's suitors.

"You can tell that this is a great program to be part of," Bowman commented. "All the people I met there showed me a lot of love and right now I have to say that they are at the top of my list.

"Recruiting has been really crazy, but I am able to enjoy it. Even though I have offers from all over the country, I can see myself staying in the Pac-12. Don't know when I'm going to make a decision. Even though I'm graduating early I don't have a timetable about my decision. I guess I'll do it when I feel the time is right and I'm 100 percent sure."

In comparison to Bowman, his teammate 6-foot-1, 185 pound corner Oliver Johnson hasn't been recruited nearly as heavily. Nonetheless, the visit to Tempe was a productive one as well, as the Sun Devils became his first scholarship offer and broke the news to him while on his visit.

"I didn't expect to get an offer when I visited today," Johnson said. "But coach (Trent) Bray has been in contact with me more than any other coach out there. So it was cool getting an offer from them (ASU)."

Johnson prepped at nearby Taft High School and signed with Missouri Western when he didn't get any offers to his liking. After redshirting there he decided that he needed a change of scenery and to position himself in a better path for a Division I school. Therefore, he came to the conclusion that Pierce was the right destination for him.

As a freshman last fall, Johnson played in five games for the Brahmas, posting 12 tackles and five passes defended. His combination of size and speed is one attribute that is very appealing to the ASU staff.

"You don't have too many 6-1 corners that can run a 4.5," Johnson explained. "The coaches wanted to see in person if I was 6-1 because most corners are shorter than that. It's hard to find corners that can cover the tall receivers out there."

Oregon and Utah have been recruiting the corner fairly hard in recent weeks and Johnson said that he expected to get offers from one or both programs in the upcoming weeks.

"I liked Arizona State a lot and I think it would be a good place for me to go to," Johnson admitted. "I don't know when I'm going to decide. I just want to talk to my family about all my options and take it from there. Right now I don't have any plans to visit other schools. I have to sit down and talk to my coaches."

And what about a package deal with his teammate Bowman?

"I would love that," Johnson said.

Johnson is also scheduled to graduate in December, but unlike Bowman is a two for two player in terms of eligibility.


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