On Wednesday, the next football series by Friday Night Lights creator Peter Berg will come to life. ‘QB1: Beyond the Lights’ is docu-drama show which spent the fall 2016 season following three of the nation’s top quarterbacks: Bishop Gorman (Nev.) star Tate Martell, Houston County’s (Ga.) Jake Fromm and Tayvon Bowers of Bishop McDevitt (Pa.). Two of those three passers are household names for anyone who has even cast a cursory glance at football recruiting, with both Martell now at Ohio State and Fromm at Georgia preparing for their collegiate careers. Now Bowers is waiting to see if his involvement in Berg’s project will propel him firmly into the national spotlight, too.
“It was a really surreal feeling,” Bowers told USA TODAY. “I know back in May when they reached out to me I was surprised and wondered why they chose me. Knowing they thought I was one of the top QBs in the nation was a humbling experience, being in with two other guys who are nationally known, I guess now they’ll know my name.
“Pretty much, I guess what they wanted to do was understand how it was to play QB in three different parts of the country. I don’t know why or how they found me. They emailed my coach to ask if I would be interested, he asked me, and I was like “Hell yeah, I’d be interested in that.’ Then I had to Skype with Peter and other producers. It was a really great experience and I’m looking to seeing how it all turned out.”
Unlike Martell, Bowers and Fromm were both firm commitments to the programs they eventually joined (Fromm) or signed with on National Signing Day (Bowers). That meant that the focus on both those passers was firmly on the field and their preparation for it, something Bowers said was odd at first but eventually became second nature. In fact, the Pennsylvania-raised Wake Forest signee said the camera crew assigned to follow him eventually became like a second family to his friends, family and even his teammates.
Not that there wasn’t a bump in the road en route.
“My coaches felt like sometimes (having the cameras on site) was good and sometimes it was bad,” Bowers said. “In the beginning some guys tried to show off for the cameras so the coaches had to tell them to pretend they weren’t there because we were same team either way.”
That wasn’t the case after Bowers was injured during a victory in late October. The passer suffered a torn ACL and meniscus in his left knee, ending his season prematurely … and all on camera. Of the three stars profiled in QB1, only Bowers suffered a significant injury while being filmed for the series, and only Bowers will sit out the 2017 season as a grayshirt, instead enrolling at Wake Forest with the Class of 2018 after completing the rehab of his knee injury. While he hasn’t seen the moment of his injury on screen yet — Bowers was not granted early screening privileges for QB1, and its believed neither Martell or Fromm were, either — he remains confident that whatever the cameras caught could not be as painful and shattering as the moment was in real time. “The last thing I was worried about was the cameras,” he said.
Still, for Bowers the upcoming season of QB1 will serve as ample motivation to continue his rehabilitation, as will the memories he’s taken from the series, mostly in the lingering anticipation that came each Friday night as Bowers and his teammates prepared for each week’s opponent.
“I’d say the thing I remember the most is them being there on the Friday nights,” Bowers said. “That whole experience was great. Being mic’ed up and having people who were experts at audio and video, knowing that it’s all going to this one project, I’m excited to see how it will end up. … It’s a great feeling knowing that people know my story, my family life, how I am as a person. It’s a great feeling.”