Whenever Ridgeland High School cornerback Devin Bowman arrives at the University of Georgia, he will be prepared.
After signing with the Bulldogs in early February, the 6-foot, 175-pounder started receiving Georgia’s football playbook from secondary coach Scott Lakatos. It came in the form of papers and DVDs, and there has been no shortage of information.
“The DVDs are of Coach Lakatos telling us how to go through the plays and how to understand them,” Bowman said. “It’s kind of hard sometimes, because you’re not in front of a coach who is actually showing you how to do it. I’m getting more comfortable with it.”
Bowman is hoping to be in Athens for the second summer session, but he first must pass the English language arts portion of the Georgia High School Graduation Test. He long has since conquered the writing assessment, mathematics, science and social studies elements of the GHSGT, and he finished all of his Ridgeland requirements in December.
He had planned to enroll in January at Georgia, where he could have joined quarterback Christian LeMay and receiver Chris Conley, but this one English test has proven to be more challenging than any player he has encountered on the field. He is scheduled to take it a third time in early July.
“What’s so aggravating is that he makes great grades in English,” Ridgeland coach Mark Mariakis said. “It’s not like he’s ever failed an English class. He’s a bright kid, but this test has kind of gotten under his skin. He missed it by four points the last time, which winds up being about two or three answers, so he’s right there.
“Georgia’s coaches have been nothing but professional about this and have made it clear that they will never give up on him. Devin has always risen to the occasion, and he will get this behind him.”
Since January, Bowman has spent first period in a Ridgeland weight-training class overseen by Mariakis. Bowman sticks out a bit in this class, because he brings a manual sent from Georgia.
Second period is spent with his English tutor, and then he heads out to the track for conditioning and sprint work before going home around lunchtime to digest more of his future playbook.
“That has been his schedule for this semester,” Mariakis said. “Devin has been a kid from day one who works hard and wants to learn. He just needs to get by this test, get down to Athens and make something out of his life, which I know he will.”
Bowman, the younger brother of former Oklahoma State receiver Adarius Bowman and current Alabama receiver Michael Bowman, scored touchdowns for the Panthers as a tailback, receiver and cornerback, as well as on kickoff returns and punt returns. He stays in touch with fellow Bulldogs signees such as Corey Moore, a safety from Griffin, Ga., and with each week the anticipation grows.
“It’s just around the corner now,” Bowman said. “I cannot wait to get down there.”
David Paschall is a sports writer for the Times Free Press. He started at the Chattanooga Free Press in 1990 and was part of the Times Free Press when the paper started in 1999. David covers University of Georgia football, as well as SEC football recruiting, SEC basketball, Chattanooga Lookouts baseball and other sports stories. He is a Chattanooga native and graduate of the Baylor School and Auburn University. David has received numerous honors for ...