Bowman Already Hard at Work

BELLEVUE - This is the time of year when high school seniors check out. Monday was Memorial Day, they probably went to Chelan or somewhere else with friends or family to start their early summer celebrations, content knowing they've got a few months in their pockets before the work of college begins in the fall. But Shane Bowman is not a typical senior, and he's on a different kind of program.

"I'm all in," Bowman told as the Bellevue defensive lineman continues his preparations toward entering Washington's LEAP program in July. "I've been all in since February 5th (signing day)."

Truth be told, Bowman has been all in to what Washington has been selling since before that. As soon as Chris Petersen took the UW job in December and the new coach reached out to gauge Bowman's interest in becoming a Husky, he knew his verbal commitment to Oregon State wasn't going to last if UW came after him hard.

They did, and two weeks before signing day Bowman publicly switched his allegiance via Twitter faster than you could boil an egg. It didn't hurt that one of his close, close friends - Bellevue teammate Budda Baker - would announce his decision to stay home right before Signing Day.

"When I committed to U-Dub, he was like, ‘Bro, I might go there'," Bowman said of Baker. "I was definitely in his corner, trying to get him signed with the Dub."

It happened, and the two will be joined by fellow Wolverines running back Max Richmond and offensive lineman Morgan Richey when they all matriculate to Montlake for the start of the 2014 season.

Bowman was a little late to a workout the day we spoke, but that might be about the only thing you could nit-pick when breaking down his preparation to what he'll face this coming fall. It's the mentality and ethic that has already endeared Bowman to the new Washington staff.

"Been talking to coach (Chris) Petersen, coach (Jeff) Choate probably every week," said Bowman. "I haven't talked to them in a few weeks now, just studying my playbook and learning everything, just taking it all in. We've been in touch, not like an every day thing, but I'm just getting ready to get going to see what I can contribute."

Bowman doesn't have much of a clue as to what's going to be asked of him this coming fall, but in talking to him one thing is clear; that's not a question he's worried about in the slightest. "I've got all of the defensive line assignments," he said, matter-of-factly. "I'm just learning. I don't know where I'm going to play. It could be end, stud…I'll play zero to nine (gap), I don't care. I'm just working on my craft every day, training, and just getting ready to play. Like I said, it doesn't matter to me. I'm just working on getting ready to play zero to nine. You want to be a player that can move around. You don't want to be limited to one area."

At 6-foot-4 and 260 pounds (‘on a really good day'), Bowman has already grown to the part where he'll fit right in along the defensive linemen already wearing the purple and gold. "Every time (the UW coaches) see me they say, ‘Man, you're getting bigger'," said Bowman. "In terms of where I stand size-wise amongst the guys that play currently I think I'm right there, maybe a little bigger than a few guys. But they haven't really…coach Choate or Coach Pete or Coach K (Pete Kwiatkowski) haven't said anything like, ‘you need to be at this weight'. It's just been a personal goal of mine to bulk up a little bit, just to give myself an edge. I'm still…I haven't gained any bad weight. I'm still rocking the six-pack and stuff (laughs)."

In talking to Bowman it became clear that he avoids using the word limitation if possible. Not only does he strive daily to learn as many positions as he can on defense, but he's also sculpting his body to handle any physical situation that comes up on the field. Given Bellevue's reputation for preparation Bowman armed himself with some outside help to get him where he wants to be.

"I work out with my trainer, Tracy Ford, and Marc-Avery Airhart at this place called Ford Sports Performance in Factoria," Bowman said. "I go there every day." Ford, along with running his own training business, is the head strength and conditioning coach at Bellevue, and he's been helping Bowman on a range of issues, including change of direction, hip mobility, flexibility, speed, power, explosion.

"My main focus…because I knew…I've been working during the season too so I knew I was getting stronger, but one of my main things was working on my mobility and my hip flexibility," Bowman said. "(Tracy) tells me that limited flexibility limits playmaking ability. That was a high point for me, just getting faster and getting a better change of direction."

Not only do the signees get playbooks, but they also get workout materials from the UW strength and conditioning staff. It shouldn't come as a surprise that Bowman is going above and beyond what is being asked. "I was basically doing (the workouts), but I was a little more ahead in the cycle," he said. "I talked to coach (Socha) about it. He knows that Tracy knows what he's doing, so we're just doing our stuff."

So now it's simply a matter of routine for Bowman. He gets to Ford Sports Performance in the afternoon and gets down to work. The emphasis is maximizing range of motion while still building power and explosion. "We do a lot of stuff, it's always different," he said. "The strength training…(Ford) said he went to one of the Huskies' workouts, and in his words, ‘I'm in good hands'. Coach (Tim) Socha knows what he's doing. That's pretty exciting because that's a huge thing for me. We're just working on all that stuff. I haven't done yoga, but we do a lot of weird things to get more flexible. But it works. I'm feeling better, can move around way better. You can always improve range of motion."

It's hard to know if Bowman will see the field in 2014, but if his approach to Washington's practices this spring are an indication, he's just as focused on getting what he can from the mental reps - even if it's from the sidelines as a not-so-casual observer.

"I just saw a lot of talented, hard-working guys," he said when asked about his impressions of UW's spring. "I'm excited to see what I can contribute and work hard. I just watched and took notes. I'm always trying to learn."

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