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Scouting new Michigan QB Alan Bowman

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A strong arm, a long injury history, plenty of experience, and a lot to prove.

Kansas v Texas Tech Photo by John E. Moore III/Getty Images

Michigan quarterbacks coach recently said that Cade McNamara is the team’s starter, but in the sport of football nothing is ever set in stone.

Throughout spring football Michigan’s top options were McNamara, five-star freshman J.J. McCarthy, and Dan Villari. The team needed more depth and was able to land Texas Tech grad transfer Alan Bowman, who will bring experience to the QB room.

Bowman comes to Michigan after already compiling plenty of service time at Texas Tech, and one heck of a freshman season back in 2018.

Here’s a look at what there is to know about Bowman.

The Basics

- Height: 6’3”

- Weight: 215lbs

- 2020 stats: 1,602 yards passing, 10 TD, 7 INT, 64.6 completion %

- Career stats: 5,260 yards passing, 33 TD, 17 INT, 67 completion %

Career Rundown

Bowman put up impressive numbers during his freshman season in 2018, where he threw for 2,638 yards, 17 TDs, and a 69.4 completion percentage. Bowman’s threw for an incredible 607 yards and 5 TDs against Houston in ‘18 in a 63-49 victory. That effort from Bowman, in just the second start in his career, gave him all the confidence he needed to go on the road the following week and throw for 397 yards, and beat No. 15 Oklahoma State 41-17.

Bowman’s best output came with current Arizona Cardinals head coach Kliff Kingsbury at the helm for Texas Tech. Once Kingsbury was fired and Texas Tech went with a screen-pass heavy and gimmicky scheme that featured a porous offensive line, Bowman’s production suffered. A lackluster supporting cast and an undesirable scheme definitely didn’t do Bowman any favors. To make matters worse for Bowman, he has struggled to stay healthy during his college career. Bowman has had a fractured rib, partially collapsed lung, re-collapsed lung, ankle injury, and other dings and dents. Bowman is considered tough as nails, but at some point those injuries add up. Even so, it’s hard to hold injuries against someone he keeps getting back up and keeps showing up to fine-tune his craft.

Strengths

  • Experience. Bowman comes to Michigan with 16 games under his belt and 713 pass attempts.
  • Good arm strength. Definitely has a lot of zip on his throws.
  • Handles blitzes well, delivers an accurate ball with pressure in his face.
  • Understands how to dial his arm strength back and throw with touch.
  • Known to be fiery and a leader
  • Excellent film from 2018 his freshman season

Weaknesses

  • Wasn’t with the team for spring practices. Will have to learn the playbook and shake off the rust quickly.
  • Multiple injuries throughout his college career.
  • Coming off a disappointing 2020 season where he threw 7 INTs in 8 games and lost his starting job.
  • Was more tentative and hesitant throwing the ball in 2020

Overview

When factoring in the pros and con of Bowman’s career and realizing Michigan’s depth at QB is light, bringing him on board was a no-brainer. Bowman gives Michigan a veteran option if things don’t go as they expect with McNamara this season, be it in performance or due to injury.

With Weiss’ saying “he’s our starter” in regard to McNamara, it’s hard not to take that comment at face value. Bowman would really have to get acclimated quickly and absolutely light it up to get the starting job. Our friends at SB Nation’s Viva the Matadors are quite high on Bowman, saying “he can be a truly elite quarterback in the right scenario. Now, I’m not sure Michigan runs an offense that compliments Alan’s talents but the kid at his best is as good as any signal caller. If he gets back to form, I’m not kidding when I say he’s good enough to help Michigan challenge Ohio State.”

When evaluating some of Bowman’s film when Kingsbury was his head coach, it’s pretty clear why Michigan has him on the team. Bowman can take a hit. He handles blitzes well and doesn’t panic in the pocket when he’s about to get popped, he maintains his focus to deliver the ball downfield.

Bowman is tough, he has a good arm, but it remains to be seen if he’s a serious threat to win the starting job. Not being part of spring ball doesn’t give us a barometer to know whether he’s at the level of McNamara, or higher/lower. Those conversations will be happening in the months ahead. McNamara has already started/already has developed the trust of the locker room, they support him, and the only thing that is going to change that is absolute dominance by Bowman once he gets to practice with the team.