Chris Bowser trip report

Chris Bowser was a fairly late entry to the party that was Washington's 12/5 recruiting trip to Seattle, but the 6-6, 275-pound tackle prospect from Saddleback (Calif.) Community College made a big impression nonetheless.

"It was great," Bowser told Sunday afternoon. I liked all the coaches on the coaching staff and all the players I met. I could tell it would be a great place for me to play."

Jon Lyon was Bowser's host, which made sense. Lyon played last year at Saddleback before signing a letter of intent to play at Washington as a mid-year transfer.

But let's lay a little groundwork on Bowser's background. Chris went to Aliso Niguel High School in Aliso Viejo, California, about half-way between Los Angeles and San Diego. "I had two offers from smaller schools (Weber State and Idaho State)," he said. "I held out until the end, and then decided to go to Saddleback for two years and then go to a bigger school. But a week before the signing date I decided that I wanted to play in college, so I called Weber State to let them know that I was going to Idaho State.

"When I called Idaho State they told me that they had just filled my spot an hour before, so I decided to go to Saddleback."

Bowser's first year at Saddleback was a trying one. "I had a nagging shoulder injury," he said. "There was a lot of instability. I was able to get it stronger, but it still wasn't strong enough to play. So I took a medical redshirt and had it scoped. And this last year I feel like I played well."

One school thought highly enough to start recruiting Chris behind Saddleback's back. "Well, there was just one school that called me throughout and that was Nevada," said Bowser. "Even though my coaches thought I was going to stay one more year, Nevada called me anyways. And then Coach (Dan) Cozzetto got some Saddleback film. He's a friend of Coach (Mark) McElroy's. He saw me in the film and asked about me. I know Coach Cozzetto from high school because he recruited me for Oregon State. He said that he'd been following me and told me that he felt I was capable of making a contribution at Washington."

Even though McElroy and the Saddleback staff weren't thrilled about how things had developed, they saw the writing on the wall. "It became pretty apparent to the coaches that I was going to leave, so they started making some calls for me," said Bowser. "I've always liked UNLV because of Coach (John) Robinson, so they called a couple of days later and offered me a scholarship. A week after that, Washington offered me.

"So then I set three trips up. I was going to go to Washington on December 5th, UNLV on the 12th and then Nevada on the 19th, but the night after the Boise State game, the coach that had been recruiting me for Nevada (DJ McCarthy), let me know that my recruitment was going to stop.

"And then last week, on the Thursday right before I was going to leave for my Washington trip, Colorado called. They saw my film and were really eager to set up a visit. So I'm going to go to Colorado on the 10th, Wednesday, and then go straight to Las Vegas after that."

Even though Bowser has spent two years at Saddleback, he still considers himself a '3 for 3' player. "I've been told I can apply for a sixth year because of my shoulder," he said.

That gets us up to date. So on with news of the UW official visit. "The whole trip was amazing," said Chris. "Coach Cozzetto came to my house last Monday to meet my family and he showed me pictures of the school, but going there was so much better. I didn't really expect it to be that good.

"I really liked all the support they give you - the tutoring, the facilities, the training facilities. They have 31 libraries on campus! The other thing is that they've got two pretty new strength coaches (Pete Kaligis and Steve Emtman) who played at Washington, who dropped the number of shoulder injuries from twelve to zero. Because of my shoulder, that was something that really caught my attention.

"I also liked the fact that there's a lot of access to computers because of Bill Gates and his association with the school."

Bowser appeared to make a similar impression on the Husky coaches. "The coaching staff seemed really energetic to me," he said. "They want to get the program back in the right direction. They ended the season on a positive note, but weren't satisfied. They want to get back on top.

"Coach (Keith) Gilbertson let me know that I'm their number-one JC offensive line prospect. He told me that there are a couple of other guys below me that are just chomping on the bit to play there. He thinks I can step in and play right away."

And position? "I know they are trying to get back to right and left tackle instead of weak and strong, so I would probably play right tackle," he said. "I know Khalif Barnes is coming back as a senior at the other tackle position."

Because Washington is on the quarter system, Bowser has told the Husky coaches that he will be making his decision shortly after his final visit. "Before my visit I had UNLV 60/40 but after my visit to Washington it levelled the field between those two," Chris said. "And now with my Colorado visit I'm not sure what to expect."

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