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The Greatest Tight End In College Football History

"Greatness" is a term often used in this social media era.

In essence, the measure of greatness can be subjective, even if we have access to tangible evidence to validate a player's accomplishments.

The game of college football has been played for over 150 years. During that time, certain players have arrived who have transcended the sport. Very rarely do tight ends produce players who can change the overall fortunes of a program. In the late 1970s, the Missouri Tigers had a man by the name of Kellen Winslow, who would go on and help revolutionize the tight end position. In the 1980s, it was Keith Jackson out of Oklahoma, who is considered by many to be the greatest at his position.

If you ask Georgia Bulldogs head coach Kirby Smart, he would probably tell you that the greatest tight end in college football history is Brock Allen Bowers. For those who have been watching the last two years, Bowers has not only been the best player at his position; he has arguably been the best player in college football the last two years.

Even before stepping into Smart's program, Bowers was a different species. At 6'4, 205 lbs, he clocked a 4.5 40 as a sophomore and a 40-inch vertical. At Napa High School in Napa, California, he was a two-sport standout before putting his focus on football. The decision would pay dividends as a junior when he led Napa to the state finals while setting the school record with 14 receiving touchdowns. As a senior, Bowers was named to the All-American Bowl without playing a down due to restrictions brought upon by the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a true freshman in 2021, Bowers came to Georgia with a strong tight end room that included Steelers draft pick Darnell Washington and Arik Gilbert. In what should have been a season of acclimation, Bowers became the team's main tight end after Gilbert took a leave of absence and Washington broke his foot. His first ever college football game would come against Dabo Swinney's No. 14 Clemson Tigers. In a game that featured little offense, Bowers emerged as the team's leading receiver with 43 yards on six receptions in a 10-3 win over the Tigers. The following week, Bowers would explode with 107 yards on just three receptions and two touchdowns in their Week 2 win over Alabama-Birmingham. The Bowers era in Georgia was in full swing.

Despite playing on a team with a historically great defense, Bowser would establish himself as one of the premier players at his position in his true freshman year. Even in their loss to Alabama in the SEC Championship game, the Crimson Tide defense had their hands full with Bowers, as he finished with 139 receiving yards, a touchdown, and a tackle. Yet, his signature moment would be the one that helped give the Bulldogs their first national championship in over 40 years; his touchdown late in the fourth quarter would give his team the cushion it needed to win. The perfect redemption story—a moment fitting for the player that would help change the program.

When the 2021 season was over, Bowers would earn numerous All-American designations, including AP SEC Newcomer of the Year, the 2021 Shaun Alexander Freshman of the Year Award, the Football Writers Association Freshman of the Year Award, and many others. If there was an award to be had, Bowers won it. There was no question that he was the premier tight end in college football. Coming into his sophomore year, many debated between him and Michael Mayer out of Notre Dame as the best at his position in 2022.

After his first two weeks saw him make little noise, Bowers would remind the nation of his greatness in Week 3 against the South Carolina Gamecocks, as he put together one of the most complete games of his career: five receptions for 121 yards, two receiving touchdowns, and one rushing touchdown. In Week 8, he would set a career high with 154 yards on five receptions and earn SEC Offensive Player of the Week. By the end of the season, the Bulldogs would finish with a 13-0 record, an SEC title, and one of the best tight ends in a generation leading the way on offense.

Bowers' performances spoke for themselves last season. Even before his stellar performance against the Texas Christian University Horned Frogs in the National Championship, the college football world already knew he was in a league of his own. Unfortunately for the Horned Frogs, they never faced a player like Bowers during their valiant playoff run. Seven receptions and 152 yards later, they learned the hard way that he was built differently.

When a player has accomplished as much as Bowers has in two seasons, the next logical question is: what is left? In 2023, he will be at the top of the mountain for tight ends. Perhaps now we should compare him to the greatest to ever play at the collegiate level. If we know anything about Bowers at this point, his play on the field will tell the rest of the story for us.


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