The 2016 Shrine Bowl, which gathers the top football players from the Carolinas each year, named its participants last week. The University of South Carolina ended up with 11 of its pledged earning the designation.
Davonne Bowen, a 6-foot-2, 220-pound linebacker from Piedmont (S.C.) Woodmont, committed to the Gamecocks’ program over the summer and has remained a solid commit to the school since. Bowen is one of the 11 prospects headed to the Shrine Bowl in December, and he spoke with Today’s U about the accomplishment.
“It was a blessing,” Bowen said. “It was crazy because I remember when I was a freshman at Woodmont and going against Malik [Young] and him being recruited for it.”
Young, who is now a redshirt sophomore, started at right guard last Saturday in South Carolina’s 24-13 loss to Texas A&M. Like Young, Bowen will attend the post-season bowl game once his senior campaign is in the books, and he feels as if it will provide the opportunity to build camaraderie with several other Gamecocks commits.
“We have good connections overall,” Bowen said. “I would probably say we haven’t gotten super close with communication on a daily basis, but with 11 commits being at the Shine Bowl I feel like it will be a good time for us to bond and be there with each other.”
Throughout his high school career, Bowen has exhibited a tenacious pass rush thanks to his speed off the snap and explosive ability when rushing the passer. Bowen has the frame to contribute at the Power Five level in the linebacking corps, but he could also slide down to an edge rush position along the defensive line if he were to tack on some size, giving him a bit of leeway and versatility at the next level. This led to numerous Division-I schools offering the Woodmont product, but most having taken the hint since his June pledge.
“I really haven’t heard from too many schools since I’m committed and I feel like its most definitely my home,” Bowen said. “Since I’ve been committed I haven’t really heard from too many schools, but I have gotten some mail coming in from Old Dominion, a couple things about their program. Citadel just sent me a little congratulations thing, but I haven’t really bee getting too much recruiting because I already know where my home is at.”
As of now, Bowen is slated to take his official visit to campus sometime in December, likely with several other members of the Gamecocks’ 2017 class, which ranks No. 11 in the nation according to 247Sports.com. Bowen lives about 100 miles from South Carolina, so he is more than familiar with the campus and what the school has to offer.
“Distance didn’t really play a major key in my recruiting process, but to have the University of South Carolina in the SEC, the home state school and I have always had an interest in South Carolina,” Bowen said. “Being a SEC team and my home state school, it’s kind of like a no-brainer. They coaches show a lot of interest and it’s something I felt like was a no-brainer.”
So far this season, Bowen has played for Woodmont (2-5) with a sprained ankle and turf toe for much of the early going, although he has continued to play through the injury and is finally nearing 100-percent. This coming week, Woodmont will have a good chance at improving their record with a contest against Greenville’s Mann High School (1-5) on Friday.