Billy Bowens

Billy Bowens has had the opportunity to be mentored by former and current BYU Cougars players and he's happy to to have BYU offer

Recently BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki was recruiting in California’s Inland Empire area of Riverside and Redlands. From Redlands East Valley High School, Billy Bowens was the recipient of a BYU scholarship offer, giving him an opportunity to play with two close friends.

The weekend of May 27th was a memorable one for Billy Bowens. BYU defensive coordinator Ilaisa Tuiaki came out for a visit capping off a day of outstanding achievements.

“BYU came out and I got to meet with Coach Tuiaki, and we were talking about track and families and stuff like that,” Bowens said. “Then after that day the weekend comes and after my track meet and qualifying for state, I got a call from them. He was letting me know that they wanted to offer me. It was great finishing the day with an offer after qualifying for state in track. It was a great weekend and couldn’t have been any better.”

Bowens primarily competes in the 400-meters on the track but does run in the 100 and 200-meter events as well. His track times are impressive.

“I run the 100, 200, and 400,” Bowens said. “I’ve been training for those and work on a lot of acceleration at practices. I’m going to nationals in the 400 and that’s the event I excel the most in. My fastest 400 time is 47.81 and then my 200 is 22.8 but that was earlier in the season. I ran a 11.1 in the 100 but know I can run a lot better in those events now since I was really only running the 400. Those events I wasn’t practicing much for because I was training more for the 400.”

After playing quarterback in his sophomore year, Bowens was switched over to wide receiver where he sought to hone the skills required to play the new position.

“I play receiver and I feel like, well, a lot of people know I’ve always been playing quarterback ever since last year,” Bowens said. “Last year was my first year playing receiver so it was new to me. I just tried to pick it up and understand as much as I could. It was a new feel for me and it worked out really well. I went to camps and different coaches and getting more work and training and getting serious about it. I’m coming into my senior year feeling more confident and a lot more polished as a receiver.”

The switch eventually paid off. Bowens would receive scholarship offers from a number of college programs. Now Pac-12 programs are starting to take notice.

“Yeah, I’ve actually received a lot of attention from Pac-12 schools,” said Bowens. “They’ve been trying to get me to come up for camps but I’ve been busy with track. Pac-12 schools have been trying to check me out in spring. I recently spoke with Arizona and have been talking to them. Then the schools that have offered me are Boise State, Colorado State and I’ve been talking to UNLV.”

However, Bowens’ offer from BYU is a big time offer for the Redlands’ receiver. He’s watched and followed BYU football from afar because of a specific running back who was a role model for him.

“I know Jamaal(Williams), his sister, and his mother Nicole,” said Bowens. “We were like the little kids on the track team and Jamaal was like our older brother teaching us how to use the blocks and pass the baton in the relay. He was like our mentor and guide for us growing up.

“I watched him play at BYU throughout his years and would catch up with him to see how he was doing. That was really cool for me to see him do what he did at BYU and then get drafted [into the] NFL.”

Having been mentored by Jamaal Williams who rose up to become a BYU star and now NFL running back with the Green Bay Packers, Bowens feels it’s a similar path he could emulate.

“When I got the offer from BYU it was really big for me,” said Bowens. “It shows what Jamaal did from where he came from, and where I come from, and what he’s accomplished coming from the Inland Empire. It’s a real inspiration for me and makes me feel like I can go there and do bigger and better things. I was really inspired by what he did. See that was really cool.”

However, Bowens’ connection doesn’t end with former Cougar running back Jamaal Williams.

“I have two really good friends up at BYU now, two close family friends, so that’s a big deal for me,” said Bowens. “I’ve heard nothing but great things from them about BYU. Also Jamaal Williams, who just went to the NFL as a draft pick, is someone I look up to as a big brother.  He helped me when I ran track and he’s said nothing but great things about BYU. It sounded like a really great place, so when I got that offer it was big for me. I just feel really blessed to get that offer.”

Those close family friends are none other than BYU defensive backs Chris Wilcox and Isaiah Armstrong, who both come from the Inland Empire.

“I know Chris Wilcox and Isaiah Armstrong,” Bowens said. “Wilcox is from Corona and I know him from track as well. His father talked to me and got me over to his track team and that’s when I met Chris. This was after my time with Jamaal [Williams], so after that time I got with Chris and was training with him and his father and they started helping us out with track. I’ve always been around him and I still talk to Chris’ father and see his father at track meets along with Chris’ little brother. It’s real cool.”

Isaiah Armstrong also comes from Redlands East Valley High School but played JUCO ball at Riverside Community College. He too mentored Bowens prior to transferring to play football at BYU.

“Isaiah came from Riverside Community College and they’re from Redlands East Valley as well, and so I know him and his dad as well,” said Bowens. “I know his family and see his father every now and then at the Friday night games for Redlands East Valley High School. I see him and say hello. Every now and then Isaiah will come by and get in a weightlifting session with us. I think that’s really cool.”

Both Chris Wilcox and Isaiah Armstrong have given Bowens a glowing report on their BYU experience in Provo, Utah.

“They’ve all said BYU is a great place and that it’s a place I would definitely like,” said Bowens. “They can vouch for BYU better than anyone else. They’ve given me a really good overview and said it is a great place where people are all about family. They said you can go there and fit right in and feel right at home. They said a lot of great things and it’s real cool.”

The plan now for Bowens is to head out to Provo soon to see what the BYU buzz is all about.

“Yeah, I definitely want to go check out BYU and the schools that have offered for sure,” Bowens said. “I plan on checking BYU out and want to see what’s up there, so I do plan on heading out there as well as the other schools that offered me.”

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