By KEITH TAYLOR, Kentucky Today
LEXINGTON — Mark Stoops expects Lynn Bowden to provide the same excitement for the Las Vegas Raiders that he gave Kentucky during the past three seasons.
“I think he’ll be a great fit,” Stoops said. “The fan base will be energized by him and he’ll feed off that. I think coach (Jon) Gruden is a good fit for Lynn because I know (Jon) and I think the way he can relate to Lynn and help him to continue to grow is important.
“Richie Bisaccia, the special teams coordinator, and I go way back, and know each other for a long time. Richie is another (coach) that will be a great mentor for him. I think he’ll be a guy Lynn can lean on.”
The Raiders, who selected Bowden as the 80th overall pick in the third round, plan to use Bowden as a running back and Stoops added his versatility will prove to be beneficial in the NFL.
“I know coach Gruden will have his ways to use [Bowden], but I think that’s the first thing you think of. If they’re going to use him primarily at running back they can put him in motion or line him up at returner. He can do a lot of things and that’s what we had hoped moving into the draft, that Lynn’s versatility would help him and I think it did.”
Bowden was a premier wide receiver, punt and kickoff returner, and then a converted quarterback during his three years with the Wildcats. He guided Kentucky to an 8-5 record and was named Most Valuable Player of the Belk Bowl last December after leading the Wildcats to a 37-30 triumph over Virginia Tech.
Bowden was happy with the selection and isn’t “set on one position.” Last season, he won the Paul Hornung Award last year and rushed or 1,468 yards and 13 touchdowns last year. He hauled in 30 passes for 348 yards and one touchdown. He rushed for more than 200 yards in three games.
“I just want to win games and championships,” Bowden said. “I’ll go wherever coach Gruden wants me to go. He said he wants to do a lot of things with me and I’m ready to get on board.”
Bowden impressed the Raiders during the combine and has been working to improve his skills.
“I’ve been back in the lab even since the last game of the season,” Bowden said. “I was never really out of it, and I have been working on technique as a receiver and everywhere else. I’m always trying to get better.”
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Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter @keithtaylor21.