Bowers eager to power Georgia to more success

Georgia photo by Perry McIntyre / Georgia junior tight end Brock Bowers has been a huge part of two national championship teams and is ready for more with a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator.
Georgia photo by Perry McIntyre / Georgia junior tight end Brock Bowers has been a huge part of two national championship teams and is ready for more with a new quarterback and a new offensive coordinator.

NASHVILLE — It could be the most unique story in the Southeastern Conference this season and in all of college football, for that matter.

What if Georgia junior tight end Brock Bowers wins the Heisman Trophy?

"I think that would take a lot," Bowers said Tuesday at the league's annual media days event. "The tight end's positional value isn't super high. Quarterbacks are usually the best players on the field, because they need to be kind of that field general.

"That's why they usually win the award, so it would take a lot for me to do that."

A tight end hasn't won college football's top individual award since Notre Dame's Leon Hart way back in 1949, but Bowers has his share of highlights and name recognition to nestle himself among the early favorites. The 6-foot-4, 230-pounder from Napa, California, has amassed 119 catches for 1,824 yards and 20 touchdowns through two seasons, having led the team in receptions and yards in both years.

His 13 touchdown catches as a freshman set a program record, and he added nine carries last season for 109 yards.

"Brock is unique," Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart said. "He's easily the quietest, hardest worker I've ever been around."

Bowers is admittedly on the silent side — "I don't have a lot to say, usually," he said — and opts for the more tranquil hobbies of fishing, hunting and golf. Yet his play screams for attention, with each catch seemingly as eye-popping as the one before.

"The tipped catch against Florida is up there, because that was just dumb the way that happened," Bowers said of last season's 73-yard touchdown against the Gators. "Scoring in the two national championships has been pretty cool, too."

When asked about his 77-yard touchdown at Georgia Tech his freshman season, when he blew past past the secondary of the Yellow Jackets, he said, "It was just a little glance route, which is what we call it, and I just started running."

The athleticism has always been there, with Bowers having been a triple-option quarterback in ninth grade.

"I would just kind of keep it most of the time," he said. "That was really fun. I played receiver my sophomore year, but I was a bigger dude, so I moved down to tight end."

Bowers will have to create more memories in Athens with new faces, as his offensive coordinator — Todd Monken — and quarterback — Stetson Bennett — from the past two seasons are now in the NFL. Even the 1-2 positional punch of Bowers and Darnell Washington is no longer, with Washington having also moved on to the professional ranks.

"We're not going to have another Darnell," Bowers said. "We don't have anyone else who's 6-8 and 280."

Fortunately for Bowers and the rest of Georgia's returning offensive starters, there is familiarity galore. Mike Bobo is the new coordinator after serving as an offensive analyst last year, with Bobo also having served as Mark Richt's coordinator during the 2007-14 seasons at Georgia before becoming the head coach at Colorado State.

"I think he'll use me a whole lot like Coach Monken did but throw a few of his own wrinkles in there," Bowers said. "I'll just be happy with whatever helps this team win."

Vying to replace Bennett have been redshirt junior Carson Beck, redshirt sophomore Brock Vandagriff and redshirt freshman Gunner Stockton. Beck came out of spring as the favorite and has some experience, playing in seven of last season's 15 wins and completing 26 of 35 passes for 310 yards with four touchdowns and no interceptions.

"Carson is awesome," Bowers said. "You have to be a good leader to be a good quarterback, and he has been stepping up in that role. He has been doing a good job communicating and kind of being that field general that we need.

"He's a dude the guys can rally behind."

And speaking of dudes, Bowers could often reside alongside a front this season containing the veteran likes of Amarius Mims, Xavier Truss, Sedrick Van Pran and Tate Ratledge.

"I personally think we'll have the best offensive line in the country," he said. "I love our guys up front. They'll fire their butts off to win."

Contact David Paschall at dpaschall@timesfreepress.com.