Clemson gained a sudden verbal commitment from 5-star running back Demarkcus Bowman today. Bowman comes to Clemson from Lakeland, Florida (Lakeland) and is listed at 5-9, 191 pounds. He is the #2 running back in the 2020 class per the 247Sports Composite and the #17 player overall. Bowman picked Clemson over Georgia and longtime leader Florida. The Tigers took the lead in his recruitment during the spring, and he has been on campus at least three times during 2019. These visits, especially to both Junior Days so far this year, allowed Bowman to bond with others in the class and plan what is ahead.
Jeff Scott is listed as the primary recruiter for Bowman and may have sealed the deal when he visited Lakeland on May 1st. Tony Elliott also assisted during the recruitment. Between Elliott’s patience for offering running backs and Scott’s pull in Florida, this recruitment blossomed like a well executed draw play. Lakeland is a longtime University of Florida pipeline and pulling Bowman from Florida could not have been done in years past. Clemson’s branding has reached a new level in the past year and the results of this class are the spoils.
Bowman gives Clemson three public 5-Star composite recruits, joining Fred Davis and Bryan Bresee. He recently posted measurables of a 4.47 40 yard dash, a 10.82 100 meter dash, a 4.31 shuttle, and a 36 inch vertical leap at the Opening Regional in Orlando. He should develop into a prototypical home run threat at running back. Bowman plays with a north-south run style and possesses blazing acceleration. His speed, vision, and acceleration through contact should translate well from the elite high school competition he faces at Lakeland to P5 football. For all those reasons, Bowman was Clemson’s top prospect on the running back board. He, like all freshman running backs, will need to work on his pass blocking to contribute early in our offensive system. Lack of elite pass catching skills is another minor weakness. Regardless, given the likelihood of Travis Etienne entering next year’s NFL draft, he should be able to immediately contribute during the 2020 season.
Clemson will continue pursuing one more running back this cycle. Kobe Pryor and Daniyel Ngata are the names to know. If Zachary Evans makes it to campus, then game on.
Our recruiting group at STS (and Justin Timberlake) have been hinting that May will be a month to remember for Clemson recruiting. Consider this commitment the first of many dominoes to fall this month.
You can watch Bowman’s Junior year highlights below
Clemson lands an elite RB that had been missing from previous classes (at least with regards to star rankings). Coach Tony Elliott got his guy. Bowman was the top guy on Clemson’s board. Bowman is a complete package at RB, but his elite speed and ability to cut on a dime are what separate him from other RB’s in the class. He isn’t the biggest back and isn’t going to be a bruiser, but he recently clocked a 100 meter time that was faster than Sammy Watkins in high school, running with a good 10-15 more pounds. His adjustment to college is going to be pass protection and running between the tackles for short yardage. That doesn’t mean he doesn’t run with power, but his game is acceleration and speed, with surprising power.
Bowman is a 5* RB not only because he looks good on tape, but he has proven production against some of the best teams in Florida, in the biggest moments. Bowman is physically ready for the next level and will not need a long adjustment time. He should immediately land in the two deep, in the rotation for significant carries as a freshman. With ETN and Feaster gone, Clemson needed to land a RB of Bowman’s caliber.
Jeff Scott also deserves a ton of credit here for cultivating a relationship with the coaches at Lakeland and the community. Even though Clemson wasn’t going to take WR James Robinson, for example, Clemson kept recruiting him and made inroads with the staff. This should continue to help Clemson to maintain this commitment. Florida in particular, but all the schools in the South will try to pry Bowman away from Clemson.