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November 7, 2011For Woodland Hills (Calif.) Pierce C.C. four-star safety Gerald Bowman his attempt to graduate in December and search for the school he'll head to in January seems to be a natural evolution of a timeline. However, as his Oklahoma trip exemplified it seems to be a chicken or the egg argument.
That's because the 6-foot-1, 210-pound safety found himself in an interesting bind this weekend. Bowman wasn't able to get out with some of his fellow official visitors on Saturday night, and hasn't been able to take any official trips in general, due to some class work for a weekend course that he took so that he could graduate early.
"I had to go back to the hotel on Saturday night to do some work for one of my classes. Then when I got to the airport on Sunday I went straight to class. I had my luggage in there actually," Bowman said.
"It's funny, my professor born in New Mexico and moved to Oklahoma City when she was about 16 years old, she was excited for me about my visit. She didn't think I was going to make it to class because I e-mailed her and let her know that I was going to be a little bit late. But she wasn't even expecting me to come and she was happy and excited for me.
"The goal is for December, and I'm on pace, but the coaches told me it didn't matter. It matters to me, but if I was able to get out in December I want to do so."
That being said the issues with his travel and time constraints didn't take away from his trip as Bowman says the entire experience was a bit of a shock to the sensibilities of a guy Philadelphia born and raised.
"It was a really great experience for me, overall it was a great experience, I didn't know what to expect but I knew it was going to be a great trip. Going out with the guys before the game, the preparation, you can tell they are really into it," he said.
"They are mentally ready for their opponents - the gameday atmosphere was electrifying, I can't express how much that had an effect on me it was cool being around the recruits, the coaches, and the players
"That's huge, it gives you some sort of comfort and motivation, and you've got so much support. I don't think it's something that would bother me but it doesn't have an effect on me. I don't think I'll be overwhelmed, at Oklahoma it's all about OU football but you know it was definitely somewhere I could see myself playing."
The role he'd be playing would be among Oklahoma's secondary, notably at safety where the Sooners current employ a rotation of Tony Jefferson, Aaron Colvin and Javon Harris all of who will be returning to the roster next year.
Bowman says he took some time with both Jefferson and Colvin this semester and the Sooner coaches laid out for him how might fit into things in the 2012 season. As importantly it seems that Bowman sees the group being able to coexist.
"Originally my host was Tony Jefferson but something happened it and it was Aaron Colvin and I spent time talking with those guys. Those guys just kind of said 'forget about recruiting me', and they were just getting to know me. I commend coach (Willie) Martinez for letting me be around the guys and letting them get to know me and let them evaluate me and not just him doing so," he stated.
"For one, the first thing is first, I realize that they are dynamic and they can move around and move me around in many different positions. Tony is like a nickel/safety/SAM. He really was like we need playmakers back there and guys to contribute along with the rest of the team and Aaron is supposed to be moving back to corner and (Harris) is versatile as well.
"I love it, it messes with the O-coordinator. He can't pinpoint and say, him or Gerald or Tony, they have tendencies of throwing this or that there. I've played all over the place (at Pierce), and have come down in the box, blitzing off the edge and playing quarter, quarter halves and I'd rather be in a system where they can move me around and let me do different things.
"The vibe I get from the players and coaches is the best players are going to play and those guys want me to play with them and that means a lot. I want to be a playmaker, create turnovers. As a coordinator, and as a position coach they have to put me into the position to make plays and then it's on me."
His potential to make a quick impact was not just backed up by players or their position coach but Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops. In fact according to Bowman his ability to help the Sooners, and their need for him to do so may have been their chief message of the weekend.
In fact Stoops informed him of some plans that would make room for him in Oklahoma's secondary.
"For one, I'd be able to start, he and coach Stoops told me that and as well as I would be coached up and not just told anything but would get better every day," he said. "Those guys are serious about their job and not that others aren't but they are competing for national championships and it's deeper than just them being hard or anything like that. They want the best out of their guys and at the end of the day they have a responsibility. I get it and I get the whole philosophy of what they do. I do believe if I do go there then I'll turn out pretty good.
"I had breakfast with (Stoops), he and coach Martinez, and my coach and we all had breakfast and talked. Coach Stoops is a very humble guy, he doesn't speak too much about all his accomplishments, he told me the majority of the time he is over there and works with us and coaches us up. There is an opportunity there and they are planning to move Aaron back to corner, and me and Tony and Javon having all three of us on the field at the same time that could be amazing."
Even with so many positives some might wonder how a player born in Philadelphia and currently living in the Los Angeles area would react to the idea of living in a college town like Norman. Listening to Bowman it's clear that where he could be living is a much smaller part of his thought process.
"It doesn't really factor in for me, I tell everyone this, it's a business decision for me and it doesn't matter where you are going to be at, or how fancy the town is. It's not part of the thinking for me. I have three years (to play two) to do what I need to do, and I want to make the decision for me, whether that's in Oklahoma, or California, or wherever, I want to go somewhere and contribute and set myself up for future success."
Though he clearly enjoyed his trip to Norman there is still plenty of questions about where he will spend his college days and as mentioned previously there is uncertainty about how he will be able to get those trips in. So far he has one trip nearly set up and is working on where else he'll visit before he graduates in December and heads off to the college of his choice.
"I'm still in the process of trying to figure it out with when I'm going to do (the visits), but I'm discussing it with my coach this week and how I'm going to go about the whole visiting thing. With USC that will be my next visit and the other ones more than likely will have to be in December," he said.
"It's still kind of up in the air about where I'll visit. I was thinking about Miami, as well as Oregon and USC but I still haven't figured out what I'm looking for and haven't finalized anything. What kind of screwed me up is when I had to take these weekend classes and it kind of conflicts with me traveling because I kind of had it planned out before."