Hudson Valley KR/SS Kyle Bowen

At night, after football practice, you'll find Hudson Valley's Kyle Bowen working at FedEx. During the day this talented strong safety and kick returner is working overtime on his school work. Pretty soon you can add a baby girl to the mix as well.

Bowen, who measures 5-11, 185 pounds, represents the difficult balancing act faced by many junior college football players. Most are not on scholarship and therefore have to work. Some are taking care of 'issues' at home. And then there are the not-so-minor issues of earning solid grades, taking classes that will transfer to four-year universities, and excelling on the football field.

Despite the mix of challenges, Bowen seems to have embraced the 'get 'er done' philosphy. "I'm second on the team in tackles, can play corner or safety. I'll do anything to help the team. I made the transition this year to strong safety because our corner are outstanding," says Bowen.

He was a non-qualifier out of Bishop Maginn HS in Albany, New York, where he was a 4-year varsity starter who played running back as well as wide receiver and cornerback. As a senior he played in the Section II All-Star Game. The University of Buffalo, a school that recruited him as a prepster, recommended he hone his talents at Erie Community College.

As a freshman at Erie in '05, Bowen led the Northeast Football Conference in kick return yardage and yard average. He started out as a slot wide receiver then moved to running back in a triple-option offense. The overall situation at Erie didn't suit him, however.

"I transferred to Hudson Valley in the spring of 2006 because it's closer to my home and a better overall environment," said Bowen. "I like the bigger college, am getting better grades, and am in my comfort zone. Also, I'm playing better at safety. Stepping up my game."

This season he has four interceptions in eight games, tops in the conference, and is second in the NJCAA in INT return yardage (187) with two touchdowns. He has 127 punt return yards (12.7 avg.) and 391 from kick returns (24.4 avg.). Playing against Erie earlier this season he tallied 10 tackles and a sack.

The transfer to HVCC seems to be paying off in just about every way. Most importantly, he's aiming to raise his GPA to a 2.9 by May. Several four-year schools are reportedly watching his progress including Buffalo and Idaho.

If he didn't have enough incentive to do well in school before, then becoming a father should do the trick. Bowen is mastering the JC balancing act as well as anyone.


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