Player Spotlight: Nigel Bowden

Nigel Bowden is having a strong junior season at Central High School in Macon, Ga. Despite his team's 1-8 record, Bowden's on-field presence has been palpable at middle linebacker during a transition year for the Chargers. His goal now is inspire his teammates for a better 2012.

"We lost some key players from last year's team," said Nigel Bowden, "but what really affected us was losing our head coach at the beginning of the season. We're playing a lot of young freshmen, so I'm trying to be a team leader for the most part and help raise those guys up."

Central Head coach Anthony Hines, who had been at the school nine years, resigned prior to the season taking full responsibility for a player's dehydration issues. The player is fully recovered, but Hines decided it best to step aside. Brent Thronton took the team from there. Bowden knew he needed to step up his game and leadership to ease the transition.

"I'm getting better at recognizing plays and making faster decisions," Bowden said. "I'm knowing when to drop back or when to break to the ball. My open field tackling has improved as has my ability to shed my blockers."

Bowden, 6-foot-1, 225-pounds, has one college offer from Vanderbilt he received in May. He said Commodore linebacker coach Brent Pry, a former coach at Georgia Southern, stopped by spring practice and liked what he saw.

"Coach Pry told me I was the type of linebacker he liked," Bowden said. "He said what stood out to him was how aggressive I was on every play and how much I talked to the defensive line. He loved how quickly I filled gaps."

Right now Bowden has just the Vanderbilt offer, but that could soon change with heavy interest being shown from Georgia Tech, Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Auburn.

"I'm going to Gainesville for the Florida-Vandy game this weekend," Bowden said. "Earlier in the year I was at the Vandy-UGA game. The atmosphere was great. You can tell how excited people are there because even though they lost, they still said it was a great team. There were some players crying after the game, so you could see how serious they take it. Looking at the players I could tell they must have a great fitness program."

The Chargers will end their season on Friday, November 4th, with a game at Howard High School. Afterwards, Bowden intends to set his sights on what's going to go on next season at Central.

"I talked with the next class of freshmen defensive linemen and told them after the season we needed to get together at my house during the week," said Bowden. "We're going to lift weights, work on our footwork, and speed. We're going to be doing 100 meter sprints with parachutes, two mile runs, and running stadium stairs after church on Sundays. It's to get the team closer together and condition at the same time."

Bowden reports straight A's this school year. He says he has a group of elders who stay on him and keep him motivated with his school work, most of all his olden brother, Joe Nathan Jr.

"My brother was playing running back at Fort Valley State when a defensive tackle came up with a big hit and ended his playing career," Bowden said. "He's got a couple of friends who played college ball, but fooled around and didn't get their education. They get on me about keeping my grades up and not have that hinder my playing career or my future."

Joe Nathan Jr. is now in the Air Force Reserves. In 2007, they lost their brother, Jason Nathan, an Air Force Airman, who was serving in Iraq.

Nigel Bowden wants to have a decision made on which college to attend prior to the start of his senior year at Central. He wears No. 32 for the Chargers. Top Stories