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Bearcat Freshman Profiles: Ja'Marez Bowen

In the first recruiting class of the Tommy Tuberville era the Bearcats were essentially shut out of Cleveland, traditionally one of the deepest cities in the state of Ohio. That changed in a big way with the class of 2014 when the Bearcats signed three players from Cleveland or with Cleveland roots. The biggest of the bunch is Ja`Merez Bowen from Shaker Heights high school.

The Essentials

  • High School: Shaker Heights
  • Position: Defensive Tackle
  • Height: 6'4"
  • Weight: 270
  • Consensus Rank*: 83 (***)

* As determined by 24/7 sports composite algorithm which combines and weights the rankings of 24/7, Rivals, Scout and ESPN to come up with one number.

Lets just say that Ja`Marez Bowen has earned his nickname. They call him tank, and its not hard to see why they do. He is simply an enormous human being his height and weight listed above comes from the official roster, but I have it on good authority that it isn't accurate at all. I have heard that he is now closer to 320, which seems on the high side. Regardless, he is big for a freshman.

The only real question going forward is where do you stick him? He could play as a defensive tackle or as an interior lineman on the offensive side of the ball, and he could play at a high level in both spots. Long term I think he has a better future at defensive tackle because he is a great athlete for the position. He has a great get off, long arms, quick hands, a devastating bull rush, and freakish athletic ability for the spot. Bowen could be an absolute monster at defensive tackle, but the same could be said of him at guard. The difference is that as a defensive lineman Bowen already has a pretty refined game, as an offensive lineman he will have to build from the ground floor up, so it would take him a bit longer to contribute.

In a strange way Bowen's versatility means that where he winds up might have something to do with how Chris Ferguson adjusts to offensive line. That's a new side of the ball for him, in a sport that he has barely been playing for a year. He is a smart kid which should allow him to adjust to the intellectual rigor that comes with the position. But if he doesn't progress like Darren Hiller would like over the next year I could see the coaching staff decided to swap Bowen and Ferguson.

Physically I think that Bowen could contribute for the Bearcats this year at defensive tackle, not in a starting role but as a guy who can buy Robert Prunty 10 or 20 snaps a game. For part of camp he and Cortez Broughton were running with the 2's and 3's. In an ideal world Tubs would get to red-shirt both, but its looking like Tez has a chance to be a factor this year, which means Bowen is likely going to red-shirt. Hopefully by this time next year the coaches know where Bowen is going to be for the long term.