Making the Case: Four-star LB Troy Bowles

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Troy Bowles had a top eight and now he has three schools left in the running.

The four-star inside linebacker from Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit had Ohio State, Clemson, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Rutgers, Auburn and Oklahoma as the frontrunners, and now just the Bulldogs, Buckeyes and Sooners remain.

The feeling for months has been that Georgia has an edge in his recruitment, that the coaching staff there and especially position coach Glenn Schumann have made him a major priority and he fits what the national champs are looking for out of their inside linebackers – guys who can hit and who can run and tackle.

But Ohio State has intrigued Bowles for a long time, even with coaching changes on the defensive side of the ball. Bringing in Jim Knowles as the defensive coordinator and linebackers coach has been a value add for the Buckeyes, and Ohio State has always been one of the teams that Bowles has talked most highly of throughout his recruitment.

Oklahoma might be the surprise finalist, but a finalist nonetheless. Through numerous cutdowns and with more than 40 offers, the Tampa Jesuit standout has maintained his interest in the Sooners throughout.

In today’s Making the Case, experts from around the Rivals network make an argument for a particular school and then national recruiting director Adam Gorney issues his verdict as to where he sees Bowles ending up.

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GEORGIA 

Georgia’s NFL development has to resonate with Bowles, the son of Tampa Bay Buccaneers head coach Todd Bowles. Schumann has become one of the top inside linebacker coaches in the nation, with three of his protégés drafted in this year’s draft alone. On top of that, he has had Bowles circled as one of his top targets since last summer. Georgia has mainly been battling with Ohio State for Bowles, with the Bulldogs seeming to hold a slight lead as of now. – Jed May, UGASports.com

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OHIO STATE 

Ohio State has had a big summer for recruiting booms, notably landing a trio of defensive backs and wide receivers since the end of June. The Buckeyes’ pursuit of Bowles continued with his official visit June 24-26. He camped in 2021 and developed a relationship with former linebackers coach Al Washington and has forged a new connection with Knowles, who’s kept in contact. Ohio State currently doesn’t have a commit at linebacker in its 2023 class and would love to add its first with Bowles, but the Buckeyes have also kept tabs on four-star Louisiana linebacker Tackett Curtis. Bowles also visited three times between June and October 2021, watching the Buckeyes play at Rutgers in Week 5. Proximity might be what keeps the Buckeyes behind in the running, seeing as the Tampa native also visited Georgia and Oklahoma this summer. – Jacob Benge, ScarletandGrayReport.com

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OKLAHOMA 

Oklahoma has always felt like the odd man out on just about every breakdown of Bowles’ situation, but they just keep fighting to the next cut. There has always been a feel that this might come down to Ohio State and Georgia, but the Sooners’ connections in Florida and Brent Venables‘ reputation as a linebackers coach has made this more interesting than I could have guessed at the time the Sooners offered him. That relationship between Bowles, Venables and Bowles’ family is going to be the Sooners’ best chance for a win. – Josh McCuistion, SoonerScoop.com

SHARE YOUR THOUGHTS WITH OKLAHOMA FANS AT SOONERSCOOP.COM

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THE VERDICT

For a long time I thought Ohio State had the edge in his recruitment but now I feel like Georgia is the team to beat. The only other linebacker committed to the Bulldogs right now is CJ Allen, and that alone probably won’t make Bowles pause in terms of making his decision. Ohio State is going after Curtis and others, but either way I still think the Bulldogs have the edge. That defense has been amazingly good, they’re coming off the national championship, he would be able to stay in the Southeast and play in the SEC and Georgia has not backed down an inch trying to get him. Give me the Dawgs here. – Adam Gorney, Rivals national recruiting director

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