Earlier this week, after an unofficial visit over the weekend, Bowers told Fabian he was committing. Fabian says he wasn't surprised it was Pitt, and he wasn't surprised he was committing as a junior.
"Nick really only attended two camps, Penn State and Pitt," Fabian said. "We didn't hear anything until towards the end of the season. It was at the (regular season finale) Shady Side Academy game. They sent (player personnel director) Desmond Robinson to that game he came to get some background info."
In that game, Kittanning topped Shady Side 28-27, capping its first conference title since 1976. Bowers set school records with 54 receptions for 941 yards and 16 touchdowns. In that last regular season game, Bowers caught 10 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown. He also threw for the game-winning score. No trick plays. In certain situations, Bowers is counted on as the 'Wildcat' quarterback. Most situations, it's to run for a first down. In this case, it was to win a game.
It's reflective of how dependable Bowers is in a game situation, reflective of why he earned a Division I scholarship.
"It wasn't long after, they offered," Fabian said. "He went down for the Notre Dame game. He went down there, and that's when he started to really like Pittsburgh. I guess that's where the interest took off."
Bowers is used primarily as a receiver at Kittanning, but is being recruited to Pittsburgh as a tight end. Pitt is in pretty good shape at tight end, with J.P. Holtz already entering his third year in the mix, a returning senior in Manasseh Garner, as well as Scott Orndoff and Jaymar Parrish--both players who played a significant role as freshmen.
The combination of the timing of Pitt's offer, the attention to the tight end position, Bowers' breakout season and his own experience at the Notre Dame game, it was hard no to pull the trigger immediately.
"While he was down there for the first bowl practice, me, him and his dad went down," Fabian said. "Coach Chryst wanted to speak with him. He went up to his office, and that's when he offered the scholarship. He went back for the unofficial visit last Saturday, they did the academic side of things. He came back to be Monday and wanted to commit."
It's also another showcasing of this Pitt coaching staff targeting a top athlete to convert into some sort of tight end. Bowers is a receiver in this spread offense. Yet with the numbers he put up, combined with a growing size (expected to be 235 pounds by the start of his senior year) and the fact he has a basketball background, these are all similar traits they saw when recruiting their current stable of tight ends. When Robinson decided to attend Bowers' regular season game, the junior couldn't have picked a better opportunity to have a 10-catch performance with a game-winning touchdown pass in such a big game.
"He talked with Coach Haering, his area recruiter," Fabian said. "Coach Chryst told him they can never have enough tight ends. They'll take as many as they want, and they'll mold you into what they want you to be. These guys are well-versed in using the tight end. Nick saw that at the bowl practices, and it became a big selling point."
In addition to its first conference title since 1976, Bowers helped Kittanning to a 9-1 record. He was a first-team all-conference selection, in addition to being Player of the Year. He also earned third-team all-state honors.