'He’s phenomenal; to be that size, have those ball skills, and run as fast as he can is crazy': Bowers is beloved by his peers
The Mackey Award is given annually to the nation’s top tight end, and the three finalists were named earlier this week, although Georgia’s Brock Bowers was not on that list.
The 6-foot-4, 230-pound freshman pass-catcher was given the cold shoulder, despite leading the Bulldogs in receptions, receiving yards and touchdowns.
Bowers has hauled in 34 receptions for 552 yards and eight touchdowns through Georgia’s first eleven games. He averages a team fifth-best 16.24 yards per reception and a team-high 50.18 yards per game, respectively. Bowers also has three rushes for 55 yards and a touchdown on the season.
The three finalists for the award are Iowa State’s Charlie Kolar, Texas A&M’s Jalen Wydermyer and Colorado State’s Trey McBride. Bowers has more receiving touchdowns than all three players. He’s accomplished that feat by having significantly fewer catches than every individual on the list and has been more productive with a lesser amount of snaps. Regardless, Bowers wasn’t named a finalist for the Mackey Award. However, that’s probably one of the few things that’s on the Napa, Ca. native’s mind right now.
Bowers has been a vital part of the Bulldogs’ success on offense. He’s provided a spark in the passing game that Georgia needed. Bowers has already broken the program record for most touchdown receptions by a tight end in a season, and will more than likely pass former player Orson Charles’ record (574) for the most yards in a single season. He needs just 23 more yards to break that record, which he is averaging more than that per game.
Georgia head coach Kirby Smart indicated on Monday that Bowers’ ability to stay healthy has been a big help to the offense.
"We really haven't had anybody else who has been consistently healthy across the board,” Smart said. “I don't know if we have had anybody who has played every single game - maybe AD (Adonai Mitchell). I think he may be the only guy, and he's a true freshman starting out much like Brock. They both went through the spring which helped them.”
Smart pointed out that Bowers’ consistency on the field is why he’s been targeted so many times.
“He's not just a role player,” Smart said. “He can block and plays with a physical toughness. He's very intelligent. He takes notes. He comes in early and watches his tape. When you have dependability and talent mixed together, it's usually what you get, and you have a guy who has put up the numbers he did. Again, he takes opportunities for all the games we've played."
Bowers was a 4-star prospect out of high school and expectations were high for him as he entered spring camp earlier this season. He impressed many at the annual G-Day game, catching three passes for 37 yards. Nevertheless, he would have to battle sophomore Darnell Washington and redshirt junior John FitzPatrick for playing time entering fall camp. Washington ended up suffering a foot injury in August, which sidelined him at the start of the season.
So, Bowers stepped up and exceeded expectations in Washington’s absence, and it’s led to him receiving more snaps. He quickly became one of Georgia’s biggest threats downfield, and opposing defenses had to quickly adjust. Now, with Washington back, both of them and FitzPatrick, all get reps at tight end for the Bulldogs. Even so, sometimes the trio all lineup on the field together. Having the other two mainly used as blockers helps take some of the pressure of Bowers.
Fitzpatrick, who’s hauled in five receptions for 61 yards this season, said earlier this month that Bowers is a weapon on the field.
“He’s made plays all over the field, whether it’s blocking or catching passes,” FitzPatrick said. “He’s doing a great job. We are really fortunate to have him.”
Georgia redshirt freshman wide receiver Ladd McConkey acknowledged Bowers’ ability to get open in space.
“He’s phenomenal,” McConkey said. “To be that size, have those ball skills, and run as fast as he can is crazy. It really is crazy that he is able to do that.”
Georgia enters is last regular season game against rival Georgia Tech on Saturday. Look for Bowers to continue his success against a weak Yellow Jackets secondary.
McConkey highlighted that his teammate is a phenomenal talent.
He said, “When he’s out there, just watching some of the things he does, it really is special.”