Lynn Bowden: I feel no pressure
It’s hard to know exactly how his football career will end at Kentucky.
Will it be with his name in the record books for career receptions or yards? Will he have the most kickoff returns for touchdowns?
Will his time at Kentucky propel Lynn Bowden to bigger things?
All of that is still unwritten for the true freshman whose Kentucky career has begun in fits and starts.
But the wide receiver, who on Tuesday spoke with the media for the first time since he arrived on campus a week late while waiting to be cleared by the NCAA, is ready to get whatever career it could be started.
“His attitude is great,” wide receivers coach Lamar Thomas said of Bowden, a four-star prospect and the top signee in this new signing class. “He’s looking forward to this week, hoping he can play more than two plays.”
Bowden was limited to two plays last week against Eastern Kentucky, a kickoff return on which he admits he was “kind of nervous, got that nervous jitteries out of me,” and then a block that got him ejected for targeting minutes later.
That drama brought on by an eager block for a teammate followed the drama of the week before when he took to social media to discuss his frustration at limited snaps in the opener at Southern Miss.
“I learned I have to be patient and that’s what I’m going to do,” Bowden said quietly.
The 6-foot-1, 190-pound slot receiver — learning to play receiver for the first time —doesn’t feel the weight of the high ranking that accompanied his name from Youngstown, Ohio, to Lexington. He was ranked as one of the country’s top 100 recruits by both ESPN and Scout.
“I feel no pressure,” said Bowden, who ran for 2,277 yards and threw for 1,366 more while amassing 57 touchdowns last season at Warren Harding High School. “It’s something that’s natural, God-given so just let him do what he’s supposed to do.”
Now, if he can just get on the field and do it.
“His time will come,” Coach Mark Stoops said on Monday. “He had a better week last week. He was ready to go. We sure wanted to see him and sooner or later, he’s going to get those opportunities and you’ve got to make the most of it.”
In many ways, the fits and starts that have marred Bowden’s first few weeks in Lexington and his first two games could be an advantage for Kentucky, which plays at South Carolina on Saturday.
Bowden, who could see time as a returner on special teams, as a wide out or taking direct snaps, is a hidden weapon for Kentucky, quarterback Stephen Johnson said.
“He only got a couple plays in the last game so we didn’t really get into any of his packages or the stuff we wanted to do with him,” Johnson said of Bowden. “When it comes to South Carolina, they really can’t game plan for him. It’ll be fun.”
What has Johnson seen that fans can expect to see?
“His elusiveness, his speed,” the quarterback said. “He’s a really smart guy. We have so many plays just scripted for him and set up for him. I just can’t wait to see what he can do Saturday.”
Even offensive coordinator Eddie Gran said it will be “fun” to see Bowden get some chances on the road in the Southeastern Conference.
Gran said: “Hopefully we get the ball in his hands.”
It’s something Kentucky fans have been excited to see, too.
Bowden just has to check his Twitter mentions to see that.
None of them know how his UK career is going to end, but they’re excited that it’s about to begin.
“I love Big Blue Nation,” Bowden said. “I got a sense that they love me, so I’m going to give them what they ask for.”