New Jersey D-End Has Big Offer List

Immaculata High (Somerville, N.J.) defensive end Tashawn Bower received four offers and a driver's license Tuesday. His offer list is up to 28, and after his latest round of offers he went in-depth with to break down his recruitment...

Tuesday turned into a huge day for Immaculata High (Somerville, N.J.) defensive end Tashawn Bower, and not just because Clemson, Miami, Notre Dame and UCLA extended offers to push his total to 28.

He also got his driver's license.

So, it begs the question: Which is better? Getting offers from four big-time programs or getting your driver's license?

"Probably my license because I won't have to tell my license I won't be going there," Bower said. "That's going to be the hardest thing to do, to tell a coach I've built a relationship and be like, ‘Listen, coach, I've narrowed my choices down, and I appreciate everything.' That's going to be the hardest part."

The 6-foot-5, 230-pound Bower was not saying the four schools to offer were not in contention, but was using it more as a conceptual look at the pressures of recruiting and the difficult decision down the road.

"I'm probably going to do it after all five of my visits," he said, "just to make sure I'm doing the right thing and make sure I know ‘This is where I want to be.' "

Bower is already dealing with the process, having made recent unofficial visits to South Carolina and Ohio State. He is planning a trip to nearby Rutgers (made easier since he has his license) and trying to plan a spring visit schedule that could begin by hitting a few SEC schools.

"I might try to bump out four schools in one trip," Bower said. "I will probably going to go to Michigan, Michigan State and (Notre Dame) in a trip."

Prior to Tuesday, Bower's offer list included Arkansas, Clemson, Florida State, Auburn, Michigan, Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Rutgers, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, Washington and West Virginia while Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Georgia Tech and LSU continue to talk to him.

"It's getting hectic," Bower said. "I usually find time. Right after school I usually lift, and then I do my homework while I'm waiting for my dad to pick me up. I get all that stuff done, and from 7 (p.m.) until whenever I go to bed, I get all the calls and try to answer them all."

One of the early suitors was in-state Rutgers, which went through a coaching change. It means much of the familiarity Bower had with the program needs to be restored.

"I really like them," Bower said. "Even though they're a home school and they have a huge advantage over the other schools, I have a lot of great relationships there. Coach (Kyle) Flood just took over and I'm starting to build a relationship with him.

"I definitely want to meet coach Flood and see what he's all about. I know we talk on Facebook a little bit. Hopefully, during a basketball game I can drive up there and see what his deal is."

Bower made a visit to South Carolina a few weeks ago and was able to see the campus and facilities.

"It was nice to go out and see the school after a while and see what I like and don't like, and be able to start comparing tings after visits," Bower said. "It was a good visit. I really liked it. I really didn't get the chance to talk to him, but I did get the ‘Hi, how are you?' type of handshake."

He has relatives in Columbus, Ohio, and he toured the campus a few weekends ago.

"It was nice to see family and then see the school, finally, away from just the football facilities," Bower said. "The first time I was there I went there I saw (the facilities). I have family right in Columbus. It's a nice benefit, and it's a great program and they'll do some great things there with (coach) Urban Meyer."

Getting to know programs and coaches becomes markedly more difficult when offers are pouring in, and of the four schools – Miami, UCLA, Notre Dame and Clemson – to offer Tuesday, Bower has only been to one of them.

"Miami, I've been there before for a camp and I saw the campus," Bower said. "The campus is amazing. I really liked it. They didn't have the best season, but they still play in the ACC and they have a hard schedule. It's a great program and they work, and that is something I really love about them.

"They grind hard and they grind every day, which is something you have to do. That's how you win, you keep grinding."

Bower also has a tie to Notre Dame since former Immaculata High standout Theo Riddick plays there.

"I don't really know much about Notre Dame," Bower said. "Theo Riddick, he and I talk, and he tells me about it. He definitely loves it there. So I know it's a great place, from what Theo tells me, and obviously a good school. Academically, they're phenomenal.

"I haven't talked to him recently because they're in classes and they're lifting. I know they're getting after it. He told me he loves it, and he said he gets homesick from being away from Notre Dame."

As for Clemson and UCLA, Bower knows very little.

"I've never been to the west coast," he said. "I‘ve been to Nevada to see family. There's definitely interest there. Distance from home isn't going to make an impact on my decision. It's got to be something I feel is right, whether it's two minutes from home or 18 hours from home. I just want the best fit for me."

Another intriguing school is Washington, which offered after former Tennessee assistant Peter Sirmon joined the Huskies' staff.

"He told the coaches about me and he said, ‘Hey, you have to come and check us out,' " Bower said. "I said I would try and they offered. I heard it is beautiful there."

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