Recruiting: Catching Up with Quarterback Micah Bowens
Get to know QB Micah Bowens in our latest Up Close & Personal!
When life returns to normal and Penn State is able to regroup in the Lasch Building after a long and unexpected hiatus, the Nittany Lions will add one new signal-caller to round out their five-man quarterback room. At 5-foot-11, he will be called undersized by some. And given his athleticism, a couple schools even recruited him as a cornerback or athlete. But Micah Bowens is a quarterback.
“I was thankful for the opportunities to play,” Bowens said of the offers from Oregon and Nebraska, who both wanted him to play different positions. “I feel that I’m a quarterback, and schools that saw me as a quarterback are schools I have a lot of respect for. That played a big part in my recruitment.”
The similarities between Bowens and Trace McSorley go deeper, even if they’re purely coincidental. Both three-star recruits received 13 offers, and both committed early and relatively quickly after their first visit to Penn State. And of course, both will have enrolled at Penn State with an unclear path toward a starting job.
But while it’s fun to play the comparison game, it’s Bowens’ individuality that stands out. He’s Penn State’s first recruit from Nevada in more than two decades, and football isn’t the only sport he’s passionate about. He’s also an avid bowler.
Bowens comes to Penn State from one of the most esteemed high school programs in the country in Bishop Gorman. He waited behind former four-star quarterback Tate Martell as a freshman before taking the reins as a junior, leading his team to a pair of NIAA 4A state championship appearances, including a win in his 11th-grade campaign.
During his two seasons at the helm, Bowens threw for 4,918 yards and ran for another 1,516, combining for 80 total touchdowns, all while playing one of the most competitive schedules high school football has to offer.
“Bishop Gorman definitely prepared not just me, but everybody for the next level athletically and academically,” Bowens said. “We played at a high-level. We played teams from all across the country, and I think it really prepared me for what’s to come next.”
Bowens committed to Penn State shortly after his junior season, surprising his father on his 50th birthday in Feb. 2019, only a few weeks after his first visit to Penn State. He had already visited plenty of schools at that time, and while deciding to travel 2,300 miles is a big choice, it felt like the obvious one to Bowens.
“The feeling, the atmosphere of Penn State when I got there just blew me away,” he said. “The other places I went, I didn’t get that same feeling, so I knew that that’s where I was meant to be… [James Franklin] is more than a football coach. He’s a life coach, and that played a big part in my recruitment.”
Ricky Rahne was the lead recruiter for Bowens, and while the quarterback prospect was sad to see Rahne leave for Old Dominion, he emphasized that he committed to a school, not a coach. It made the transition easier when Kirk Ciarrocca was named the offensive coordinator, as the two have some previous history.
Not only did Ciarrocca briefly attempt to recruit Bowens to Minnesota, but Bowens’ cousin, Jordan Howden, was the Golden Gopher safety who intercepted Sean Clifford to clinch Minnesota’s win over Penn State in November. While the beginning of their relationship hasn’t been a normal one, Bowens is already getting comfortable with Ciarrocca and the rest of the staff.
“Of course, when you have a new coach you have to start from the ground up,” Bowens said. “We try to talk once a week to build that relationship so by the time we get there, it’s all football from there on out.”
With the beginning of Bowens’ journey currently on hold, he’s spending his time staying in shape and learning the offense the best he can remotely so that he’s prepared once practice begins. No one will complain if the similarities between Bowens and McSorley still ring true when his time at Penn State ends. But before then, there’s plenty he wants to accomplish.
“Big Ten championship and national championship,” Bowens said. “That’s the goal every year.”
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