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A closer look at Ross Bowers

Could this be the next man up for the Bear Raid?

Student Sports

No, he's not any of his higher-starred counterparts. But he is ours, so a big welcome once again for the newest Bear, Ross Bowers.

My normal introduction contextualizing his commitment came at the top of his announcement post on Tuesday, so I'm just going to go ahead and skip to what you came to read. That way, I don't have to come up with anything else to say.

The tape

Before anyone mentions it, yes, the post-Goff depth chart will be crowded, but nothing is ever a given, especially at that position, so you just have to keep bringing guys in there anyway. [In another year or so, UCLA looks like it could lose one of Asiantii Woulard or Josh Rosen, for example -- probably the former. Texas Tech went from three QBs who could start to just the one. Things just shake out weirdly with these guys in general.]

Ross Bowers could force his way onto the field over Rubenzer. He might not. Or both could be passed up by someone we have yet to even know the name of. Time will tell.

As far as what's on the tape, which is 11 minutes long, so I'm not going to pick out too many individual plays this time:

  • A decent, but not outstanding mobility. Bothell's willingness to put him out there in half-rolls and full-rollouts -- to both sides! -- most plays speak to the fact that he can move around in the pocket a little bit. The only difference is that he's not a full-fledged take-off threat like Rubenzer is. It's more appropriate to think of Ross Bowers as the type of mobile that lets him buy some time to throw downfield, which is one of my favorite parts of him on tape.
  • Rather than spooking at the first sign of trouble, Bowers has a real knack for keeping his eyes down field the entire way, as he searches for a crack in the defense. This is a very valuable skill that even some professional QBs don't have under their belt -- some simply take off and run for whatever they can get -- for him to at least have a sense of it at 18 is very promising, with :38 is the best example of this. My boy Isaac Williams (@berserkinberk) worries about him continuing to be successful with this at the next level, but I'm not seeing him make ridiculously risky throws on the run, really, so it's a net positive for me.
  • This next one ties in a bit with the above, in the sense that he's got some nice accuracy on the run. It's almost the entirety of the whole video, actually. I'm also pretty impressed with his ball placement, and his decisiveness on tape -- a lot of these passes are landing in a place that only the receiver can get to or are placed with just the right amount of touch in the short game; the slants are thrown ahead with running room, the deep balls are sufficiently over the tops of defenders, the screens float right where they should, and when there's a good window, he takes it. Ball in, ball out.
  • Arm strength looks serviceable. Not with any particular pop or zip that wows you.
  • He's reported at 6'1, which, while not really mattering in the long run, is better to have than not. At least there won't be any Luke Rubenzer-ian debates about his size...or at least less of one, anyway. Definitely will need to put on some more weight though. He's being listed in the 180 range, and it looks like that might be generous.
  • Not a tape observation, but Bowers drew some good reviews from guys in the know for his last week of play up in Oregon, although he did slide out of the Elite 11 as the Opening continued. It's also worth noting that I've never heard any quarterback looking bad at one of these events, so take this note with a grain of salt.
  • Also not a tape observation: his statistical profile (54% completion, 7TD, 6INT last season) isn't nearly as impressive as Rubenzer's, but he also doesn't have the likes of Christian Kirk to be throwing to, either. Not sure what to make of that, just wanted to point it out.
  • Here's ESPN analyst and actual expert Trent Dilfer on Bowers. All three parts here are kind of givens, but for fairness, I didn't want to be the only voice you heard from in this post: