By Parker Stone, Panhandle News Network Sports
SHEPHERDSTOWN, W.Va- Shepherd University is coming off what can be argued as one of the most successful seasons in program history. A second straight trip to the Division II National Semifinals, a PSAC East Division best 17 selections to First or Second Team All-Conference, and four members of last year’s team signed as priority free agents to the Chicago Bears (Tyson Bagent), Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Ronnie Brown), Baltimore Ravens (Brian Walker), and San Francisco 49ers (Joey Fisher).
This upcoming season now puts Coach Ernie McCook and his staff at a bit of a crossroads. 70% of his All-Conference players from a season ago will not be suiting up in the blue and gold in 2023. Along with this features the departure of offensive coordinator Tyler Haines to become head coach at Catawba College and defensive line coach Levern Belin taking the same position at Towson.
With whom will be starting week one at the quarterback position against Southern Connecticut State still being a big question, I think Coach McCook needs to jump at the transfer portal one more time and pick up one of the best players in college football a season ago: former Concord wide receiver Jarod Bowie.
Bowie making a reception for Concord against Wheeling University (photo by Concord University)
Last season with the Moutain Lions, Bowie captured the receiving triple crown by leading the nation in receptions (94), receiving yards (1561), and receiving touchdowns (17). His performance led to him being named the Mountain East Conference Player of the Year, an AP All-American, and a finalist for this past season’s Harlon Hill Award.
On May 8th, Bowie announced via his Twitter account that he planned to enter the NCAA College Football Transfer Portal. Jarod Bowie has Division I talent as a wide receiver, but the golden opportunity has come for Coach McCook and his staff to appeal in a special way to Bowie and bring a local product home to the Eastern Panhandle.
Bowie starred for Martinsburg High School’s football team as the Bulldogs won the Class AAA State Championship in his senior season in 2019. For his 1078 receiving yards and 18 touchdowns he was honored as the Kennedy Award recipient and the MetroNews Football Player of the Year.
Bowie followed his high school head coach Dave Walker to Concord as part of his first recruiting class in 2020. His transfer from Concord has come in light of Coach Walker returning as head coach of Martinsburg High School.
A return to the Eastern Panhandle for Bowie as well in the form of Shepherd would give the offense of the Rams the depth, help, and talent that it will need to make a run for a third straight Super Region I Championship. With the additions of former Mountain East receivers Barry Hill (West Virginia State) and Jeremiah Taylor (Fairmont State) in the transfer portal, making Bowie the centerpiece of the passing offense would help create the easiest job for whoever will be playing quarterback for the Rams this fall.