Draft watch on for explosive Bowers

CLEMSON - Everyone has their vices, including Da'Quan Bowers, one of the nation's premier pass rushers.

On Tuesday at the West End Zone, Bowers admitted that he'd just finished indulging in his favorite guilty pleasure.

"I eat a lot of fast food now. As a matter of fact, I just ate McDonald's 30 minutes ago," he said.

Despite the occasional burger and fries, Bowers is in the 270's—the weight he played at during his freshman season at Clemson. Once fully recovered from the knee against Coastal Carolina on Halloween, he'd ballooned up to over 290 pounds.

But he's smarter when timing the trips to see Ronald.

"The thing about this, it's stopping the late night eating, stopping the late night, one and two o'clock McDonald's runs," Bowers said.

But the occasional drive through doesn't seem to have affected his play.

Bowers trails only Army defensive end Josh McNary in sacks this season. The senior Engineering Management major from Houston has 9½. Bowers trails by only a ½ sack and has played in one less game.

"I've had people sending me texts, telling me I'm number one in the nation," Bower said. "I'm not concerned. I'm just trying to do my job and help my team win."

Not only is he among the nation's leaders in sacks, he's first with 15 tackles for loss.

The deaths of his father Dennis and former Clemson defensive end Gaines Adams have served as motivation for his success, but that's not where he attributes it.

"My success goes to my teammates. Without them, none of this could be possible," Bowers said. "I have those guys out there, like Miguel [Chavis], Jarvis [Jenkins] and Brandon [Thompson] pushing the pocket, allowing the quarterback to step back.

Clemson end Da'Quan Bowers will have to continue his senstational play Saturday against the Yellow Jackets in order for Clemson to win. (Roy Philpott)
"I've got guys like Marcus Gilchrist and DeAndre [McDaniel] doing great coverage, allowing him to hold the ball for that extra tenth of a second for me to get there. I just thank my teammates and my coaches for being behind 100 percent over the past few months after all I've been going through."

His teammates have just as much praise to pass out his way.

"As a person and as a player, he's a great guy," said Andre Branch, who's second at Clemson with three sacks.

"We don't focus on getting our stats. If we see each other down, we tell each other to step up. If he gets a sack, I'm just as happy as if I would have got it. He's just like a brother to me."

Snaps have been hard to come by this season for Malliciah Goodman—Bowers' backup.

"He has himself motivated to play football and to be a great player," Goodman said. "He's been flying around and his motor keeps running. If you're down, he'll pick you up, like a good team player."

Bowers is eligible for the NFL Draft after this season, but six games remain on Clemson's regular season schedule.

In other words, he'll cross that bridge once he comes to it.

"It's very important," Bowers said of earning his degree. "That's the reason I came to Clemson. My mother and my father let it be known that I was going to Clemson to play football, and most importantly, I came to Clemson to get an education. I promised my mother and my father that I would get my degree from Clemson."

He wouldn't rule out an early exit from Clemson to the NFL, but would make any guarantees that he'll be back for next season.

"I would have to talk to my mother and my Godfather. We'd talk about the situation, look at it very closely, and make a decision then," Bowers said.

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