Up Close: Adarius Bowman

<I>Inside Carolina</i> recruiting writer Andy Britt is touring the countryside to visit each UNC football commitment. Look for his unique two-part profiles all season long. Today, he reports from Chattanooga on elite wide receiver Adarius Bowman.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. -- North Carolina football commitment Adarius Bowman appears to be a crowning jewel in the Tar Heels' superb 2003 recruiting class -- something John Bunting can hang his hat on while beleaguered by a 2-9 record.

However, as the UNC coaching staff learned last year, top verbal recruits must be nurtured right up until signing day in February. The 2002 spurn by NC State's A.J. Davis remains fresh in most people's minds.

And the wolves are circling around Bowman perhaps more than any other of Bunting's prize catches this recruiting season. This, despite a non-binding promise he made on Oct. 17 to play his college football in Chapel Hill.

"Georgia…Tennessee…and Florida just started back calling," Bowman said. "I got a call from Oklahoma last week; I'm still talking to them. South Carolina still calls a lot, but they say they're real good friends with the coaches [at UNC].

"I told them that I've already committed," he said laughing. "They say, ‘Oh, that's fine.' But I know most of them want me to change my mind."

Notre Dame head coach Charles Wiggins, who has been a recruiting coordinator at several non-Division I colleges, is well aware of how unstable an early verbal can become.

"It's kind of like getting engaged," he said. "It ain't over until the girl gets to the altar. That's the negative of the early commitment; it's like throwing blood in the water.

"I think [Bowman's commitment is] firm, but you never know," said Wiggins. "You get 16-, 17- and 18-year old kids, and it's like dating. They get hot for one, one day, and the next day they're chasing the next skirt that goes by."

If Carolina is able to sustain the services of the 6-foot-5 Bowman, then along with Rocky Mount's Mike Mason, it will have its coveted one-two punch at the wide receiver position secured for the future.

"I haven't met [Mason] yet," Bowman said. "I really want to meet him; I've heard he's a great guy."

Unlike Mason's Rocky Mount Gryphons, Bowman's Fighting Irish (4-7) did not enjoy a winning season or a trip to the state playoffs. Not having much of supporting cast makes his high school accomplishments all the more astonishing.

"The potential he has is limitless to how hard he wants to work and how he develops," Wiggins said. "It will be really good for him to get around people close to his ability. We didn't have that complimentary guy to go with him; we had a first-year quarterback. The kids kind of looked to him to make every play, and he wants to help other people make plays."

As a junior, the athletic Bowman set a school record with over 1,300 yards receiving and 20 touchdowns, averaged 15 points and 13 rebounds per game on the basketball court and competed in the 100 meters, 4X100m, 4X200m, Long Jump and High Jump events in track.

Bowman has yet to take the ACT, but Wiggins feels sure he will make the grade required for admission to UNC.

"I told Adarius when he makes Academic All-America, I'll retire his jersey; because I believe if you take care of those things, everything else will turn out good," Wiggins said. "He could, if he applies himself. He's come a long way."

Stay tuned for Part II tomorrow…

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