Nation's No. 1 linebacker looking to set up fall visit to Clemson
|Saturday, July 17, 2021, 8:00 AM- -|
Clemson has its sights set on another two-sport athlete in the 2023 class. This time, the baseball and football standout comes in the form of an elite-level linebacker.
Merrillville (IN) Andrean five-star Drayk Bowen is currently ranked as the No. 1 linebacker and the No. 25 player overall in the 247Sports Composite rankings for the ’23 class. Bowen has also drawn the attention of college baseball coaches across the country with his skills on the diamond at shortstop, and his recently released top-12 reflects the schools where he currently has the opportunity to play both sports. Bowen included Clemson in his top-12, and Brent Venables is leading the recruitment in making the 5-star linebacker a key member of the ’23 class.
Bowen’s top-12 schools included Auburn, Clemson, Indiana, LSU, Michigan, NC State, Notre Dame, Ole Miss, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech.
“The calls and meeting the coaches were awesome. I have a strong relationship with each coach and get to connect with them when I call weekly,” Bowen told TigerNet of his top schools. “Each school has different things that make them unique, but they all have pretty good academics. And, as of now, most are allowing me to do football and baseball. I believe I can develop and grow at each of those schools.”
Bowen visited Clemson on June 9th, and Bowen had the opportunity to spend the day with Clemson’s defensive coordinator on that trip.
“I’ve talked to Coach Venables a lot, but to get to meet him in person and spend the day with him was amazing,” Bowen said of meeting Venables. “I love how it felt like a family when I was there and how they want me to become more than an athlete. We saw the facilities they have, the baseball field, the campus dorms, and then we got to see their program and learn how they network their players and help them get service and internship opportunities. Coach Venables really talked about life after football, and obviously football too. I still call him on Wednesdays. It’s really just checking in and seeing how things are going with the summer and baseball. He asks how the family is doing. I want to try to get there in the fall.”
Bowen decided to release his top schools down before September 1st, the day when college football coaches can begin contacting the ’23 class with direct messages. Moving forward, Bowen hopes to have a decision made in his recruitment before the start of his senior season.
“I just knew that I wanted it narrowed down to schools that I have an actual interest in before September 1st so that I can focus on the season and performing on the field with my teammates,” he said. “Baseball has been very busy, and I’ve been focused on being better on the field. I do not have a commitment timeline right now, I just know I want to be committed before senior year.”
Bowen plays travel baseball for the Indiana Bulls, one of the premier travel baseball organizations in Indiana. Bowen has had the chance to speak to the Clemson baseball staff once on the phone, and Monte Lee’s staff is on board with Bowen playing both sports at Clemson.
“They said they really liked me as a baseball player and that they are all for me doing two sports,” Bowen said of his phone call with the baseball staff. “I have not talked to them anymore, but I know they have been at the fields I was playing at.”
At 6-2, 215-pounds, Venables sees Bowen fitting in the Clemson defense as an outside linebacker and edge rusher. Bowen finished his sophomore season with 80 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 4 forced fumbles, and 1 interception. On the diamond, Bowen plays shortstop and has been clocked at a 6.92-60 yard dash. Bowen has an infield velocity across the field of 86 MPH and a top exit velocity of 92 MPH off the bat.