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Bower primed to return to the field

[ 0 ] August 6, 2014 |

Like anyone who has followed Iowa football the past several years, freshman Bo Bower knows exactly who will be missing from the Hawkeye’s linebacker corps this fall.

Standouts Christian Kirksey, Anthony Hitchens and James Morris are gone, off to NFL training camps, taking their nearly 1,000 career tackles with them.

Bower, just like Iowa fans who watched the senior linebacker trio last season, knows all about who is gone.

Unlike many Iowa followers, the former West Branch prep also knows plenty about who is back at linebacker for the Hawkeyes this season.

“Graduating Anthony, Chris and James, they were great leaders and we learned a lot from them,” Bower said Monday at Iowa’s media day. “I think the new guys that nobody really knows about are ready to step in. I’m ready to go, I’m excited to see what happens.”

A former all-stater at West Branch, Bower joined Iowa as a walk-on last season and spent his redshirt season adjusting to the college game, bulking up and soaking in everything he could from veterans like Morris, Kirksey and Hitchens.

Bower entered fall camp as part of a relatively young and unknown group of linebackers who will be vying to fill the holes left by one of the most productive linebacker groups in the Big Ten last season.

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Bower is listed as a backup outside linebacker along with fellow redshirt freshman Josey Jewell.

“This last year being a freshman, you are the new guy and you are in Big Ten football and it’s kind of nerve racking at first,” Bower said. “I’ve felt like, coming into camp, that I’ve matured and I feel a lot better about myself and I think everybody around me feels the same way.”

Senior Quinton Alston, junior Travis Perry and sophomore Reggie Spearman are penciled in as first-year starters at linebacker.

Bower, Jewell and another redshirt freshman John Kenny dot the pre-fall depth chart along with junior Cole Fisher and senior Chad Gilson.

“All the linebackers we have are great linebackers,” Spearman said. “I’m just glad the coaches trust me enough to be out there because I know any one of those guys could step in and do just what I’m doing.”

Bower hasn’t played in a real game since his senior year at West Branch in 2012.

That season, he was an all-state selection after racking up more than 1,000 total yards and had 57 tackles and five interceptions while helping the Bears reach the playoffs.

Bower credited his prep playing career with preparing him for the rigors of major college football and allowing him to climb the depth chart as a young player.

“Coming from West Branch, coach (Butch) Pedersen of course knows what we do here from a condition standpoint and a playing standpoint,” Bower said. “I think it mentally prepared me more than anything, coming from West Branch.

As far as his year away from the field, Bower has been anticipating his opening game since his prep career ended.

“It will be unreal,” Bower said of his first game at Kinnick. “Once you get into it I think it’s just going to be football, just react and everything will be good.”

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Category: Iowa Hawkeyes Football

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