Could Georgia football see one or two players in New York City for the Heisman Trophy ceremony? Starting quarterback Stetson Bennett already has his name in the ring, but what about the generational talent Brock Bowers?
Two reasons I guess a tight end doesn’t usually get sent to the ceremony. First off, it’s way too early — it really is. The weather isn’t even cold yet, and I’m talking Heisman Trophy candidates. Another reason this may seem far fetch is that tight ends aren’t traditionally Heisman finalists.
Saturday brought very few highlights against Kent State, but Bowers stood head and shoulders above the rest.
Georgia football tight end Brock Bowers should legitimately be a Heisman Trophy contender.
His 75-yard touchdown was the longest by a tight end in the last twenty years, which tells us one thing. We haven’t seen the likes of Bowers in a long time. Aside from his two touchdown runs, Bowers also caught five passes for 60 yards.
Bowers is a new breed of tight end — a skill position that has developed into much more than just a pure blocker on the O-line. The new-age tight end does everything. He blocks, runs, catches. In Bowers’ case, he is as much a wide receiver as anything else, but even this description seems disingenuous for the sophomore.
He started out as a running back on his high school football team, Napa High in California. You can see this in the way that Bower runs so confidently with the ball. Bear in mind this is just his second season in college football, which seems quite something given how impressive his first season in Athens was. It feels like Bowers has been on this team for years.
So far in the 19 games, he has started for the Bulldogs, Bowers has scored 19 touchdowns which is beginning to feel like something extraordinary is happening.
Last season, Bowers had 56 catches for 882 receiving yards and 14 touchdowns. Through four games this season, Bowers has 15 receptions for 276 receiving yards and five touchdowns. He has already surpassed last season’s rushing total, largely thanks to that monster run on Saturday.
Of course, with the tight end position it is also so much more than just catches and touchdowns, although this is what anyone looking to bring him into Heisman chatter will need to do.
But aside from his stats, he brings so much more to this Georgia team. There is no doubt that Bowers has been a huge part of why starting quarterback Stetson Bennett and this year’s Georgia offense have clicked. Bennett is another player who could easily be in the same conversations for the Heisman by the end of the season.
Would it be unrealistic for Georgia to have two players in New York? With Bennett playing quarterback, he will always have the better opportunity but don’t count out Bowers.
The mountain that Bowers has to climb to become a Heisman winner is as tough as it is high. In the 87 years that the award has been presented, a tight end has never won it. Although, to be accurate, a tight end in its current manifestation has not won it.
Yale’s Larry Kelley and Notre Dame’s Leon Hart won the trophy in 1936 and 1949, respectively, playing the “End” position which, although principally a defensive role, could be considered the latter-day equivalent of the position we know today as the tight end. Winners of the Heisman in its original form were way more focused on the best player in football rather than the competition today, which is so heavily focused on the quarterback position.
This tradition is why it will be so hard for Bowers to break the mold. Heisman voters are notoriously fickle in this regard. If voters are going to break the mold, stats matter. Alabama wide receiver Devonta Smith required 1,511 yards from 98 catches for 17 touchdowns to become the first wide receiver to win the Heisman since Michigan’s Desmond Howard did in 1991.
But none of this seems impossible for Bowers, right? But Bowers will likely need to go above and beyond that which his Heisman competition, aka the quarterbacks, are likely to have to do. But Bowers is exactly the right person for the job here as this is what he is already doing. He is posting some insane numbers for a tight end and is shaping up to be if he is not already, the best player in college football.
As has been pointed out already by his head coach and his teammates, it is the mismatch and the imbalance that Bowers creates on the line of scrimmage that creates opportunity elsewhere for the Georgia offensive line. Bowers won’t get Heisman credit for this but he sure will with his teammates.
Georgia football fans should enjoy this ride for what it is. You are watching a once-in-a-lifetime player. Once he’s gone to the NFL, there will not be another one like Bowers.