"It was mainly because of what Coach Petersen stands for and the Dawgs,” Ryan Bowman told Dawgman.com Tuesday night. “My brother being there is a part of it; it's like 70 percent Coach Pete and the Dawgs, and 30 percent Shane."
Bowman eventually chose Washington over preferred walk-on offers from Alabama, Miami and Michigan, as well as scholarship offers from Montana and Montana State. "I considered Montana a lot because of the position they wanted me to play and I really like the coaches there,” he said. “But I thought the best decision for me was to stay home and play at Washington because I love the Dawgs."
Bowman took a bit of a long cut to get back to Montlake, but that trip made all the difference. Instead of staying for his senior season at Bellevue, he took on a challenge; playing for the IMG Academy in Florida.
"I needed to develop more maturity,” he said. “I wanted to develop more as a football player and as a person. Going to IMG was a perfect place to build myself and just get better overall. I mainly went down there to be against the best competition. At Bellevue I wasn't pushing myself to be the best I could be."
Bowman also cited a desire to move to linebacker in order to attract more recruiting interest. "I'm a tweener, so I thought coaches would look at me more if I was standing up or playing outside linebacker,” he said.
Bowman wasn’t the only Washingtonian to play for IMG. Aberdeen native Joel Dublanko played middle linebacker for them.
How did IMG’s season go?
"It went really well,” said Bowman. “Going up against the top talent I thought I performed well. Our whole team will filled with four and five-star guys. I was able to play at their level. We played teams from all over the country, very dynamic teams, so there was a lot of different looks and things like that. Some of the offensive linemen we went up against were already college size. A lot of the guys I went up against were giants.
"We were 9-0. We lost our jamboree game to American Heritage by a touchdown. We only had a few weeks to prepare. We had Miramar our second game and we blew them out and DeSoto we blew out. It kind of went like that through the season. But we weren't allowed to compete for a national title or state championship game."
The recruiting attention Bowman hoped to attract as a result of the move took a little while to come, but it finally did.
"It was slow,” Bowman said of the recruiting process. “It picked up near the end of the season. Our second ESPN game against Paramus (NJ) Catholic I played really well, and Alabama and Michigan were there. I got a preferred (walk-on) offer from both those schools. And then Miami started looking at me and they said they didn't have any more scholarships to give, so they gave me a preferred as well.
"Coming back home around mid-December, I talked to Coach (Jeff) Choate and Coach K (Defensive Coordinator Pete Kwiatkowski) at U-Dub. In fact I talked to Coach K tonight. I was just touching base with him and he told me what I needed to work on to get ready for U-Dub.
“But I was talking to them frequently and they gave me the preferred (offer) too. I've always wanted to be a Dawg. I love what Coach Petersen stands for. I love the concept of being able to play with my brother (Shane). It just seemed like the best position for success would be at U-Dub.
"U-Dub has always been in my mind. That might have hurt my recruitment a little bit because I'm sure coaches knew my brother played there and I'd always been there. I went to three U-Dub camps. It's definitely been in the back of my mind, going to U-Dub."
At 6-foot-1 and 262 pounds, Bowman played a stand-up defensive end position at IMG. The closest role to that at Washington is the BUCK position played by Travis Feeney last year and Hauoli Kikaha the year before. "We had three other defensive linemen and I was the stand-up end,” he said.
"They probably want me at around 255. I'm just trying to get to the point where I'm at my most productive, because I've gotten faster and stronger. I'm just working on mobility now. I'm not getting giant or anything."
Having graduated in late December, Bowman was planning on signing with the Huskies in time for spring football. Then things took a bit of a turn.
“I found out I needed this half credit, so I'm taking care of that with a sign language class at Bellevue College,” he said. “But it does give me a little extra time to get prepared, get bigger, faster and stronger for U-Dub."
When Bowman gets that precious half credit in June, he'll be admitted for the summer quarter as a true freshman with five years to play four.
In the meantime, Bowman broke down a busy strength and conditioning schedule, one that will keep him in the best football shape possible before enrolling. He works with Chuck Smith out of Atlanta, who comes up periodically, and he also works out Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays with defensive lineman Julius Warmsley, who is on the Miami Dolphins practice squad.
"I condition Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Sunday,” Bowman said. “I lift weights Monday, Wednesday and Friday. And I do mobility work Tuesday and Thursday. And on Saturdays and days where I'm not doing much I just do skills training, pass rush skills and that sort of thing."
Any words for UW fans? ”Just excited and excited to work, hungry to get after it,” said Bowman.