ST. PETE – It has been a long journey back to Admiral Farragut for linebacker Jaylen Bowden. After starting as an eighth grader, Bowden and his mother moved to Texas where he played until coming back to Florida at Boca Ciega. Last season, he returned to Admiral Farragut and it was like he never left.
The 5’11”, 190-pound rising senior totaled 32 tackles, four sacks, an interception and a fumble that he took back 75 yards for a touchdown last season.
Bowden loves playing at Admiral Farragut because he says it has always been home to him. He became a starter there as a 5’9″, 160-pound eighth grader three games into the season.
“Admiral is a great atmosphere for athletics and academics. It prepares you for college,” Bowden said about his return. “I got used to it pretty fast. Eventually, it felt like home again. They taught me everything I wanted to know and I went out on the field and showed it.”
Last season, the Blue Jackets posted a 10-2 record before squandering an 18-point lead in the 2A region final against Cambridge Christian. The Lancers won 36-32 in a wild game.
“It was really interesting to play in that game. [Andrew] Cunningham was an amazing running back. He’s probably one of the toughest guys I had to play against. It was amazing playing in that game. It was a high level of competition. We’ll get them this year if we play.”
Bowden says this year’s team is stronger.
“We are more of a brotherhood definitely. We can build off of last year’s region final.”
He earned his first college offer last month from Eastern Kentucky. Bowden also has interest from Louisville, Duke, Campbell, Bucknell, Samford, Holy Cross, Georgia Southern, Bethune-Cookman and Florida A&M.
In Texas, he played running back and linebacker. This season, he’s looking at a role at running back where he said he’ll excel because he’s not afraid to lower his shoulder and shy away from contact. Colleges are looking at him as a nickel linebacker and he said Louisville likes his fit there.
Towards the middle of last season, Bowden says he gained confidence in his game because he knew he had to step up.
As for his biggest strengths, he says that is being aggressive and making his presence felt. He wants to become more patient and try not to overreact.
Starting his football career at age 7 at both linebacker and running back, Bowden says he knows all the tricks and tips at those positions because he’s played there for the long haul.
His head coach Ryan Hearn is someone he calls amazing. Hearn is entering his fourth season at Admiral Farragut as he owns a 20-12 record.
“He’s [Hearn] a really good dude. He coaches us hard. When I first came to this school, he taught me everything and showed me the ropes. He’s a straightforward guy who tells you what you need to do make it happen.”
Bowden’s biggest role model is his mom because she keeps him grounded and is always supporting him.
His ultimate goal is to make it to the next level and hopefully the NFL. Bowden wants to study business in college and work in the oil field upon graduation.
This kid is physical at the point of attack and has the mindset of making the play no matter what it takes. He is fun to watch.
More offers will be coming Jaylen Bowden’s way this summer. Right now, he’s set to play his final high school season and first with the same team for two straight years.
Favorite players to watch – Oakland Raiders Karl Joseph
Playlist before games – Tupac
Favorite movies – Friday Night Lights
Favorite TV shows – Naked and Afraid
Nickname from teammates or friends – “The Beast.”
Game film: Bowden’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
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