August 4, 2013

HS Coach on Bowers: 'He doesn't stop'

Byron Mattox knew that Robert Bowers wanted to wrap up the recruiting process before his senior year. So it came as no surprise to the Columbus (OH) Walnut Ridge head coach when his star defensive end committed to Michigan State while on campus for the first day of practice.

"He has been moving in that direction for a while," said Mattox. "He has been telling me all along that he has really liked Michigan State, and he has great relationship with the coaching staff."

Bowers selected Michigan State from a solid offer list, which included Wisconsin, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, Purdue, Louisville, Minnesota, West Virginia and Kentucky.

"Wisconsin offered him while he was on his way to Michigan State," Mattox said. "By that time, he had already decided where he wanted to be."

Wisconsin has a strong presence at Walnut Ridge. The Badgers signed Rivals250 athlete Austin Traylor in 2010 and highly-regarded wide receiver Rob Wheelwright last year. But a better-timed offer by Wisconsin may not have mattered in the recruitment of the No. 52 ranked player in Ohio.

"Michigan State did a great job of recruiting him," said Mattox. "Mike Tressel does a nice job recruiting our area and our school, and Robert has liked him since they started recruiting him. He has also had some good conversations with coach Dantonio, and he feels very comfortable with the Michigan State program."

Mattox feels good about his player's decision.

"He is a good fit in that program," he said. "I have watched Michigan State closely the past few years, and their defense has been really good. Their defensive ends, and their defensive line has been a strong point of that team. He will be a good fit for them, and I am excited to see how develops in coach Dantonio's program."

Bowers is the third BCS Conference defensive lineman coached by Mattox, who was an assistant coach at Columbus Beechcroft when Julian Miller (Cincinnati Bengals) signed with West Virginia in 2007.

"Traylor and Miller were both tall, athletic, and they had some filling out to do when they left high school," said Mattox. "Like those guys, Robert has to get bigger and add strength to become the player Michigan State believes he'll be."

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