UK's Lynn Bowden Says Belk Bowl Will Be His College Finale
Kentucky junior quarterback Lynn Bowden says on Twitter that “now is the time” for him to enter the NFL draft. Bowden says he will make that move after the Wildcats face Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl.
Bowden was named to The Associated Press' All-Southeastern Conference first team as an all-purpose player. The former high school quarterback began this season at wide receiver and kick/punt returner before moving at midseason to QB because of injuries to two Kentucky starters. Bowden rushed for a single-season school record 1,136 yards in seven games at QB and 1,235 overall with 11 touchdowns.
Official Release from UK Athletics:
Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr. will enter the 2020 National Football League Draft this spring, ending a record-breaking three-year career in Lexington, he announced on Monday via social media. Bowden intends to play his final game for the Wildcats in the Belk Bowl against Virginia Tech.
“I plan on entering my name in the 2020 NFL Draft,” Bowden said. “This is a moment I’ve dreamed of for a long time. I want to thank my family, Coach Stoops, Coach Marrow, Coach Gran, Coach Hinshaw, Coach Smith and all my coaches and teammates for getting me to this point. My strength coaches and trainers were also there every step of the way. The Big Blue Wall, the best offensive line in America, I can’t say enough about you. And our fans, the Big Blue Nation, you took in a kid from Youngstown, Ohio and helped me become a man. See you in Charlotte.”
Bowden etched his name into program lore this season after injuries at quarterback forced him to return to the position for the first time since high school. All the junior did was set a school record for career and single-season rushing yards by a quarterback, break the Southeastern Conference’s single-game rushing mark by a quarterback, turn in the second-highest single-game rushing total in UK history, highest single-season yards per rush attempt average and deliver at least 100 rushing yards in six of his seven starts at quarterback (and miss a seventh by a single yard vs. Georgia). The Wildcats won five of his seven starts at quarterback while advancing to a fourth-straight bowl game and re-writing the school’s record books for rushing production.
“We are very proud of Lynn and are excited for what his future holds in the NFL,” head coach Mark Stoops said. “What he’s done for this team this season is nothing short of amazing. He deserves a lot of credit because he’s sacrificed his reps at wide receiver, a position he will more than likely play in the NFL. It's not easy doing what he's doing. It just proves how tough-minded, how versatile a player he has become and I think he will excel in the NFL for a long time.”
Bowden, a finalist for the Paul Hornung Award for the nation’s most versatile player, currently leads the SEC and ranks eighth nationally in all-purpose yardage, averaging 153.0 yards per game (note that all-purpose yardage does not include Bowden’s passing yardage as a quarterback). He is one of only three players in the top eight nationally with rushing, receiving, punt return and kickoff return yards.
The Youngstown, Ohio native, who earned First-Team Midseason All-America honors as an all-purpose player by The Associated Press and ESPN, is averaging 8.2 yards per rushing attempt, and is in contention to break the school record. That mark leads the SEC and ranks second nationally. He also is the only player in the nation leading his team in both rushing (1,235) and pass receiving (348). He ranks 13th on UK’s career receptions list with 114 and is 18th on the career receiving yards list with 1,303 yards.
Bowden ranks fifth on UK’s career all-purpose yardage list at 4,407 yards, trailing only Derek Abney, Rafael Little, Derrick Locke and Randall Cobb. He currently has 1,297 career rushing yards, 1,303 receiving yards, 1,608 kick return yards and 199 punt return yards. He also has passed for 422 yards and two touchdowns.
Kentucky finished the regular season 7-5 overall, 3-5 in the SEC and will face Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl on December 31 in Charlotte, North Carolina.