West Branch senior Bo Bower already had a difficult decision to make about playing college football before what happened Sunday.
Bower was trying to decide between accepting a 70 percent scholarship offer from Northern Iowa or to be a preferred walk-on at Iowa.
Northern Iowa coach Mark Farley then drove from Cedar Falls in Sunday’s icy conditions to meet with Bower face-to-face to increase his offer to a full-ride scholarship.
Farley’s gesture made a huge impression on Bower, who said Monday that Northern Iowa had a slight edge over Iowa.
“Right now, I’m probably leaning towards the Panthers,” said Bower, who is being recruited as a linebacker by both schools.
Bower isn’t ready to make a decision, though.
He admires Farley and respects what Northern Iowa has accomplished as a perennial FCS power. But he’s also intrigued by trying to prove himself at the highest level in college.
“I’m just torn right now,” Bower said.
Bower informed the Iowa coaches about Farley’s full-ride offer and Iowa linebackers coach LeVar Woods responded by meeting with Bower on Monday at West Branch High School.
The 6-2, 207-pound Bower also took a recruiting visit to Iowa this past weekend. He met with Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz Sunday morning.
“They like me a lot,” Bower said of the Iowa coaches. “They like how I move, and they’re thinking outside linebacker. I really like coach Woods and all the staff.
“I told them that I got offered a full ride (by Northern Iowa), and LeVar came in today and we talked again about everything.”
Bower grew up cheering for Iowa and Northern Iowa. His mother, Tammy, graduated from Northern Iowa, but Bower said his parents will let him make his own decision.
Bower became emotional Monday while talking about the sacrifices his parents have made on his behalf. Bower said his parents are in a position financially where he could walk on at Iowa without it being a huge burden.
His father, Chris, owns a dry-wall company and his mother is a teacher.
However, Bower said it’s also important for him to be able to pay his own way to college.
“For me, my parents have worked their tails off,” Bower said. “I could go walk on at Iowa and be fine. But it’s just that I want to pay my parents back for all they’ve done for me. I get a little emotional thinking about it.
“But I know where my parents have come from and how hard they’ve worked. I haven’t had to do half the things they’ve had to. So I just want to give back to them. Some people might think whatever, but I really don’t care.”
Bower said he won’t rush his decision, even with the start of the national signing period less than two weeks away on Feb. 6.
“When my gut tells me, I’ll know,” Bower said. “I’m not going to make a rash decision. I’ve got time. I’m going to take it, too. I’m not going to stress out over it.”
Bower said Farley told him that he rarely offers a full-ride scholarship to an in-state recruit. That’s something else for Bower to consider.
“I’m talking to my parents every day,” Bower said. “Once I know, I’ll know. And I’m just going to go for it.”
Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football