A recurring series where we will profile every player on Maryland's roster, counting down to kick-off against William & Mary on September 1. Thanks to OBNUG for the idea.
Today we profile a player who was a surprise starter last season.
Keith Bowers, Sophomore, Defensive End, #91
Collegiate Stats: 36 tackles (22 assisted), six for a loss, two and a half sacks, one fumble recovered
High School Stats (Senior Year): 74 tackles and 15 sacks
Recruiting Ratings: Three stars by Rivals, Scout (#152 DE), two stars by 24-7 (#295 in Florida, #42 DT)
High School: Dwyer
Hometown: West Palm Beach, Fla.
High School Highlights:
There's a part two, but I trust that ten minutes is more than enough.
How'd He Get to College Park?
Keith Bowers comes from loaded Dwyer High School, whose 2011 class had eight players go on to FBS schools (and a host of others who went to smaller programs). He was one of their best players on defense during his senior year, and their coach told Matt Bracken of the Sun that he was probably the strongest out of a defensive line that included players going to Tennessee, Florida State, and Middle Tennessee State.
Bowers was offered by a host of MAC, Sun Belt, and Conference-USA schools, but never got the call from one of the bigger schools in Florida. Instead, his choice of FBS schools was between Maryland, Illinois, and Kansas. The Terps ended up winning that battle, thanks to a strong push from Don Brown and their relentlessness in their recruitment, even through the coaching change.
At the beginning of Dwyer’s season last year, they lost a controversial game to Cleveland-Glenville, when two clear touchdowns in the final two minutes were missed by the officials. Bowers reportedly delivered an impassioned speech after the game (his coach called it "almost like a Tebow-like speech"), telling the team that they would work harder than anybody else and not lose another game. They ended up making it to the state semifinals.
Last year, Bowers came into the program and found immediate success. When Isaiah Ross was injured against Miami, Bowers took over and started every game for the rest of the season. He was tied for fourth in tackles for a loss and sack, and as a result, was named an honorable mention freshman All-American.
Keith "Austin" Bowers
Being named an honorable mention freshman All-American after last season.
Don Brown leaving? Bowers' career at Maryland so far has been pretty damn near perfect.
Bowers holds on to his starting job, building off of last season and getting an all-conference nod.
Bowers falls down the depth chart and is relegated to rotation play.
We've talked about Maryland's depth at defensive end at length in this series, and with good reason - there's six guys who could all reasonably start alongside Joe Vellano and A.J. Francis. Bowers could easily be considered the favorite because he topped the spring depth chart and started last year, but Andre Monroe had a great season last year and Isaiah Ross began last season as the starter.
Bowers will have a place in Maryland's defensive line rotation this year, and he'll almost certainly have a spot as a starter down the road. The question is whether he can retain that spot this year. My gut says no, and I think Ross will at least start the season as the starter, but it's hard for Maryland to go wrong here. Whoever wins the battle between these six guys is going to have to continue to play at a high level to keep it, and Maryland's defensive line should be as good as we've seen it in some time.
You guys will be able to figure out who's next, so let's go with a trivia question with the clue. You have to get both to get the points.
Our next player went to a high school that shares its name with a college that had a player drafted in yesterday's NBA Draft.
And before Keith Bowers, who was the last true freshman to start on the defensive line at Maryland? And don't Google it, cheaters.
kbuts151 got yesterday's right, and he's making a serious comeback effort here.
Maryland1206 - 5
kbuts151 - 4
Terpsfinish - 1
ClickClack62 - 1
Mdak06 - 1
bubbasparks - 1
Everybody else - 0