Few recruits had a crazier Signing Day than Tashawn Bower.
Bower entered the day with three finalists — Florida, Auburn and LSU. A longtime commit of Auburn, Bower began assessing his other options after the dismissal of Gene Chizik and his staff. In the weeks leading up to NSD, most believed that Florida and Auburn had separated themselves from the pack — including LSU.
But no one knew exactly where Bower would sign, and he had a press conference scheduled at his school for that afternoon to announce his decision.
In the early hours of NSD though, reports started to leak out from the Florida media that Bower's NLI for the Gators was already signed. But as time passed, and no official word had come, the speculation started to grow that Bower had undergone a last-second change of plans.
That's when LSU started to emerge as the likely destination, and that became official at 10:51 a.m. when LSU received his NLI.
That day is now almost four months in the past for Bower, and while he doesn't discuss specifics of what happened, he says LSU was where he'd be most comfortable, and he's looking forward to reporting in less than two weeks.
"It's crazy," Bower said. "It's really starting to sink in that I'll be there so soon…I'm ready for the whole independence thing and getting used to a new culture. Obviously I'm going to see a lot of new people. It's just a whole new experience and the beginning step to a new chapter in my life."
A strong, speedy pass rusher, Bower was rated by Scout as a four-star prospect, the No. 22 DE in the country. Considering where he's from, Somerville, N.J., it was quite the pull for LSU in terms of talent and distance.
One of seven defensive linemen signed by LSU in 2013, Bower will look to compete for playing time at a position LSU is desperate for depth.
"[DL coach Brick Haley] definitely wants me to compete right away, especially because of the numbers," Bower said. "He sees the potential and the ability, but that doesn't mean anything if I can't perform."
Bower's relationship with Coach Haley is part of the reason he ultimately signed with the Tigers.
"I talk to him once every couple weeks," Bower said. "It's a really good relationship. We're definitely comfortable with each other. It's just about me getting ready to come down and start this whole thing. "
As with all the signees, the majority of Bower's spring has been spent completing Tommy Moffit's workout regiment.
"I've been in the weight room everyday, running too," Bower said. "I've been studying the playbook as much as I can. Trying to get as much done to prepare myself here, so that when I get there, I can excel and move full-speed ahead."
Bower has already added 17 pounds to his senior year playing weight, and said he's up to 6-foot-5, 247 pounds. Even with all that added size, he said he hasn't lost any speed and is actually getting more explosive.
Bower has the potential to be that fast, physical defensive lineman, somewhat in the mold of Sam Montgomery.
"I'm just trying to maintain my speed and try to gain weight at the same time," Bower said. "It's all in the kind of food you eat and putting on good weight, not a lot of fat…It's been tough. But I've been working and I can see the size improvement. And I can see the explosiveness coming out of it. So it's definitely worth the work."
Bower certainly has the potential to see the field as a freshman. While that is a big goal for him, it isn't the only thing he hopes to accomplish in his first year at LSU.
"I definitely want to add some size and I want to get a little faster as well," Bower said. "I want my hands to get a lot better to be a better pass rusher. Obviously I'd love to play. That's something I have to earn. I just need to adjust to everything and the whole culture down there."
What are your expectations for Bower in 2013?
Leading up until June 7, the day when signees report, TSD is breaking down each one with analysis and the latest on their preparation for LSU. In case you missed any of our previous updates, the full list is below:
DE Michael Patterson
DE Lewis Neal
Signee Update: Tashawn Bower
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