In The Nick of Time

Monday’s return of scholarships cleared the way for the Lions to get back involved with a top Class of 2015 TE who is committed elsewhere.

When Nick Bowers committed to Pittsburgh, he did so because it felt right. It felt like home.

The Panthers still represent all of those things, and the Kittanning, Pa., senior tight end plans to visit for its game with Iowa Sept. 20.

A new school has entered the fold, though. Penn State offered Bowers this week, shortly after it had all of its scholarships restored by the NCAA for the 2015 season and beyond.

“My guidance counselor came in and said, ‘Did you hear that Penn State got their scholarships back?’ ” Bowers said.

It was a question that came moments after he received messages from Nittany Lions’ defensive coordinator Bob Shoop and head coach James Franklin. Both had previously told him that if the program had all of its scholarships, he would have an offer.

Both were assured of their reasons for making that statement when they saw Bowers in person at a summer 7v7 camp at Penn State. He was dominating, catching five touchdown passes in one game alone.

“It’s just another step, I’m taking it all in right now,” Bowers said. “I went up there and visited in the spring, and they were talking about how they didn’t have enough scholarships.

“I went to the 7-on-7 and did pretty good, and I talked to them then. I was still surprised, I guess.”

Could a visit be in the future?

“I mean, if I was going to choose Penn State, I don’t really know the coaching staff at all,” Bowers said. “I’d like to get to know them better, so if I wanted to go there, I’d have to visit in the future.”

Purdue still keeps in touch with the senior daily, but there are no plans in the works to visit the Boilermakers. Bowers said the other program that offered him, Temple, stopped contacting him shortly after he committed to Pittsburgh.

The tight end added he’d like to wait until after his high school season — Kittanning is 2-0 and looking to go undefeated again this year — before making any visits or decisions about his recruitment.

“But it just happens,” he said.

In the meantime, the tight end that plays the role of a receiver in his program’s spread offense will continue to focus on improving himself and his team.

“I want to become more of a leader type for my team,” Bowers said, “and probably my cuts, my routes and getting off defensive backs.”

Bowers has nearly 200 yards receiving and five touchdowns so far in 2014.

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