Alan Bowman’s first varsity snap in practice didn’t go very well.
“I guess my cadence wasn’t loud enough,” Grapevine’s junior quarterback said of when he had just taken over as a freshman. “A senior tackle yelled at me and said he couldn’t hear me. It was a bit stunning. So we had developed a system where I was doing signals for the backs and the receivers and the line was checking for itself.”
It got tougher before his first varsity game against Weatherford in 2014. Usually holding a placid demeanor, Barry kept his emotions in check until the National Anthem played. As the bombs were bursting in mid-air, his legs locked.
“It was surreal and part of me couldn’t believe this was happening,” he said. “But two of my first four completions went for touchdowns, so I settled in.”
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All of that is to be expected. Bowman was pressed into duty and asked to make the best of a situation where Grapevine’s season went upside down. Senior quarterback Sam Barry was eventually lost for most of the season with injuries. The offense belonged to Bowman.
Fast forward to Grapevine’s 2016 season to how things have changed. All it takes is one signal for every member on the offense to know what the play is and what the protections are.
Through two seasons as Grapevine’s starter, Bowman (6-2, 200) has become the undisputed leader for this program. He also has a chance to leave Grapevine as the holder of every passing record in school history, if he hasn’t already.
Bowman has completed 64 percent of his passes for 4,387 yards and 39 touchdowns against 18 interceptions. He’s also taken the Mustangs to the playoffs each season.
“Alan is like having a coach on the field,” Grapevine coach Randy Jackson said. “He has definitely grown as both a player and as a leader.”
Bowman is also trying to parlay this success to the next level. He doesn’t hold any scholarship offers yet. However, he’s trying to make an impression during the June camp season. He’s attended those presented by SMU, Northwestern, Oklahoma, Texas, Missouri, Arkansas, Alabama and UCLA. There are plans to attend more in July.
SMU appears to be showing the most interest. How that translates into an offer could be just a matter of timing meeting opportunity.
“So far, the coaches of the schools like a lot of what they see,” Bowman said. “There are some things they want to see where I need to be more consistent. A couple of schools have told me that they want to see the films from my first games.”
Bowman is using every summer training session, every 7-on-7 practice to build his case. He’s also working on reducing a 4.9 40 to a 4.6. His best is 4.72. Programs know they’re not evaluating a true dual-threat quarterback. They want to know what kind of playmaker he is.
“They see me as a pocket passer, but I want them to see I have the ability to extend something,” Bowman said. “I can make a play downfield. I will take off and run with it if I have to. The coaches that came by to see me in the spring can see that. I want them to know I can be a leader. That’s very important.”