By LARRY VAUGHT
Not only is Lynn Bowden perhaps the most versatile football player ever at Kentucky, but recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow says there is one other intangible he has that is normally overlooked.
“He is the smartest player we have ever had at UK,” Marrow said. “He was definitely a team guy, too. Both Benny Snell and Josh Allen got a lot of credit last year but Lynn wants to win for this state and this university. He put us on his back. That’s why he’s playing in the Belk Bowl. But he’s also smart enough to figure out how to make it all work.”
Bowden earned first-team All-American honors and won the Paul Hornung Award given to the nation’s most versatile player after moving full-time from receiver to quarterback in game six and leading UK to a 5-2 finish. The put UK into Tuesday’s Belk Bowl against Virginia Tech in what will be Bowden’s final game before he heads to the NFL.
Bowden was regarded as one of the best, if not the best, athletes ever to come out of Youngstown, Ohio — a hotbed for football. Yet his academics and other issues scared some teams. Not Kentucky.
“He’s a very misunderstood kid,” Marrow said. “He’s probably my favorite guy off the field, too, but sometimes people can judge you by what they hear and your tattoos.
“He’s probably the cleanest guy you could have on your team. He doesn’t hang out. He doesn’t go to bars. The night he rushed for over 200 yards against Louisville a lot of guys were celebrating but he was staying home with his son.”
Bowden even forced Marrow to change his thinking.
“I literally learned that you don’t judge a book by its cover,” Marrow said. “I got caught early in the recruiting process thinking some negative t things until I got to know him as a person. I was wondering, ‘Do we want to recruit him?’ Thank God we did.
“He’s one of the nicest guys ever. Did he have an attitude? Of course he did because we told him he would get the ball. He learned his freshman year how to change that and it was a big learning curve. We are very thankful for how he pushed our team.
“Some people shut it down if they get upset. Not him. He’s an ultimate competitor. He may tell you how he is feeling but when it comes to competition, he plays. He could play defensive back and would compete. He never once let us down on the field and he’s just a special, special guy for so many reasons.”