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L-E’s Bowers signs to play football at Greensboro College

Posted: June 23, 2017 9:38 a.m.
Updated: June 27, 2017 1:00 a.m.
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LUGOFF-ELGIN’S JAVON BOWERS SIGNED a National Letter of Intent to continue his academic and football-playing pursuits at Greensboro College. Joining the former Demon are, from left, L-E principal Worth Thomasson, Bowers’ mother, Betty Bowers, and his brother, Brandon Cunningham, and L-E head football coach and athletic director Matt Campbell.

Trying to figure out just where to play someone like Javon Bowers on the defensive line is a predicament which a college football coach can learn to live with.

At his present 270 pounds, the 2017 Lugoff-Elgin graduate can line up at defensive end; his old spot as a Demon. Add a few more pounds to Bowers’ 6-foot-3 frame and he can be plugged inside as a tackle.

That will be the decision which Greensboro College head coach Greg Crum will have to make in a few weeks when the Pride opens camp for the 2017 season. Bowers gave Crum and his staff something to think about when he signed a National Letter of Intent with the Division III program at a ceremony held inside L-E’s Wellness Center.

First things first, however. 

Before his arrival on the practice field, Bowers had to look things over as to where he would spend his college years. When he weighed his options, Greensboro was a school which he felt best about. He also was more than comfortable about playing for Crum.

“I picked Greensboro because the head coach is very excited,” he said with a smile. “I loved how he came with me on my visit and how he was very respectful.”

L-E head coach Matt Campbell said Bowers is in the perfect college situation and setting to succeed not only while a student but in life, in general.

“It’s a great fit for Javon,” Campbell said. “It’s a private school and is very good academically. The coach there is a great guy who truly cares about his players and monitors them athletically and academically. When Javon comes out of there with that degree, he’ll be ready to move on.”

During his visit and recruitment, Crum discussed how Bowers could be play at defensive end or, he may be able to help the team as an interior lineman, as well. “They are trying to get me bigger,” Bowers said of what could be a move to playing over the guard and center. “It’s not a big deal. I think that I can do it.”

This past season, Bowers racked up 46 tackles --- 38 solos --- with three sacks, five tackles for loss of yardage and four quarterback hurries for Campbell’s Demons. The third-year L-E boss said he envisions Bowers being used as an end who will do the dirty work in college while allowing the linebackers to get upfield.

“Javon is probably going to be a boundary end; he’s going to be that bigger guy that can hold up the point of contact and the point of attack running into the boundary,” Campbell said. “He’s not necessarily going to be that defensive end who is going to be on the open side … that true pass rusher. He’s going to be more of a power guy.

“Here, we kind of just went right and left (with our defensive ends.) There, they will have more athletes so they will find a more specific role for Javon. I think that will help him because it will be more specific to what his techniques are and what they expect of him.”

Bowers said his mission hardly ended with his signing. That was just the start. Now, he said, he needs to refocus and prepare himself for a new challenge against players who, in some cases, will be older and more experienced. He said he knows he has to get up to speed as quickly as possible in order to be ready for the college game.

“Probably the strength of all the players and the speed of the game,” he said of the difference between high school and college football. “I have to play harder and faster and work harder.”

Fortunately for Bowers, he received a taste of what things will be like in the weight room thanks to having been taught the ropes by L-E strength and conditioning coach, Dr. Mike Armstrong. Also the Demons’ offensive line coach, Armstrong runs his operation like a college program. That should make that part of Bowers’ transition to college a bit easier.

“That prepared me a lot; all the workouts we’ve been doing and all the new equipment that we have,” he said. “It all worked toward my going to college and helped get us all stronger, faster and it helped us win games.”

Campbell, a former tight end at South Carolina and an eight-year offensive guard in the NFL, said everything about Bowers will change once he gets to Greensboro, including his appearance.

“Javon is a kid who has a big, long frame. He’s probably going to thin down before he builds back up,” Campbell said of his former player. “The intensity level and the refined eating habits at the training table are going to help him a lot.

“He’s a very athletic kid. I don’t think he’s even come close to reaching his full potential. He has a very high ceiling and has the ability to get it done.”

Regardless of where he lines up in college, one thing which Bowers said will remain the same is his being a high-energy player and one who wants to be a leader on and off the football field in Greensboro.

“It will change very much,” he said of his life in college. “I have very high expectations of myself and will carry myself well, like I did in high school, and have a 100 percent attitude.”

Bowers said he hopes to be one of the building blocks who will help change the fortunes of a Greensboro College football program which is coming off a 1-9 season in 2016. He said it almost mirrors what he and his teammates at Lugoff-Elgin did this past fall in getting the Demons to their first playoff appearance in five years.

That feat, Bowers said of a postseason appearance, was something which he and his fellow group of graduated seniors made a goal before the season and then, followed through on it.

 “That was a big deal. I think we jump-started things here and in the years to come, we’re going to be in the playoffs,” he said. “Other kids are going to come out and will work harder and get faster and try to build on the legacy that we’ve started here.”

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