LEXINGTON, Ky. – One day after losing leading receiver Jeff Badet to transfer, the Kentucky football program added its most highly touted 2017 recruit yet to help fill that void.
Four-star Warren (Ohio) athlete Lynn Bowden, ranked as the No. 60 prospect in the country by Scout.com, committed to Kentucky Saturday. Bowden, who played quarterback at Warren G. Harding High School, is projected to primarily play wide receiver in college but could help at several positions in the Kentucky offense.
“I’ve seen a lot of the top players in the country this year, and in the open field he’s as good as anyone, in my opinion,” Scout.com Ohio recruiting analyst Bill Greene said in an interview with the Courier-Journal. “He’s a threat to score every time he touches the football and when he gets in a college system where he’s not the focal point of the defense, he could really be dangerous then.”
As a senior, Bowden totaled 2,277 rushing yards, 1,366 passing yards and 57 total touchdowns.
Bowden initially committed to Indiana in February 2016 but reopened his recruitment just more than two months later. He picked UK over offers from Penn State, Indiana, Michigan State, Michigan, Nebraska, Wisconsin and others.
Prohibited by NCAA rules from directly commenting on unsigned players, Kentucky recruiting coordinator Vince Marrow hinted during prep for bowl practices in December Bowden was the Wildcats’ top remaining target in the 2017 class.
“I ain’t going to say no names, but it’s one guy,” Marrow said. “One dynamic guy that we’re definitely waiting on. He could be in Ohio somewhere.”
Marrow has been at the heart of UK’s recruiting success in Ohio under Mark Stoops and again served as the lead recruiter for Bowden.
If he signs with UK on Feb. 1, Bowden would be the first top-100 recruit in Scout’s rankings to sign with Kentucky since 2009 and only the fourth top-100 prospect according to Scout to sign with UK since the website started ranking recruits in 2002.
Bowden is also rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals.com and 247Sports. Rivals ranks him as the 191st best prospect in the 2017 class, and 247Sports ranks him as the 119th best prospect in the class.
Greene estimates he has seen Bowden as much, if not more, than any other recruiting analyst and actually thinks Scout’s rating of Bowden may be too conservative.
“I kind of floated the idea that he should be a five star, and he was under consideration for that for Scout,” Greene said. “I’m not so sure we don’t have him a little too low right now. I think he’s a kid that could play for Alabama, Clemson, Ohio State, USC. I think he’s that type of player. Maybe I’m wrong on that, but in my personal rankings I think he’s the best player in Ohio and maybe the best in the Midwest.”
Since Bowden did not play receiver in high school, Greene acknowledged Bowden will need to work on route running and fitting into an offensive scheme in that position at Kentucky, but he thinks Bowden already boasts impressive pass-catching ability and should make an immediate impact as a freshman in 2017.