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Drayk Bowen joins loaded linebacker corps after spectacular high school career

| Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Notre Dame sealed the deal on one of its top prospects Wednesday morning, as linebacker Drayk Bowen inked his National Letter of Intent. Bowen, an in-state player hailing from Andrean High School in Merrillville, had verbally committed back in November 2021. He selected the Irish after receiving offers from 25 power five programs, including Michigan, Clemson, Texas and Penn State. Bowen also plans to play baseball at Notre Dame. As a shortstop, he captured the Class 3A state baseball championship last spring.

Attending high school just an hour west of South Bend, Bowen pieced together an outstanding athletic resume. After collecting the Class 2A state championship in 2021, he received the Butkus Award — awarded to the nation’s top linebacker — as a senior. Irish greats Manti Te’o and Jaylon Smith have also earned the award, along with current sophomore Prince Kollie. This past fall, he totaled 144 tackles (19 for loss), 4 forced fumbles, two interceptions and five sacks. Rivals Notre Dame recruiting analyst Kyle Kelly spoke highly of Bowen’s defensive ability.

“He’s a tackling machine — already 6’2”, 230 pounds,” Kelly said. “He’s going to be ahead of the game compared to others with that size and athleticism.”

Across the line of scrimmage, Bowen logged a whopping 2,012 scrimmage yards and 29 total touchdowns as the 59ers’ starting running back in 2022. An Adidas All-American and four-time All-State selection, Bowen made 379 career tackles. He also led Andrean to a 2021 Class 2A state title. Bowen has turned heads with his consistent work ethic as well, achieving a 4.13 GPA and missing only two practices in four years, according to his coach.

Bowen carries a 6.0 rating and four-star designation from Rivals. Freshman Jaylen Sneed, Notre Dame’s top linebacker recruit from the 2022 class, also held a 6.0 rating. According to Rivals, players marked at 6.0 are high-end All-American candidates with potential for NFL draft selection late in the first round or early in the second. Among the class of 2023, Rivals deems Bowen the highest-rated player in Indiana and the top outside linebacker in America. The recruiting service places him behind only defensive back potential signee Peyton Bowen and defensive end Brenan Vernon among Notre Dame’s highest-rated 2023 recruits.

Since his verbal commitment over a year ago, Bowen has been itching to get started at Notre Dame. He is one of the vocal leaders among the 2023 recruits, showing plenty of love for the school and his fellow signees on social media. Bowen will initially enter a loaded room of linebackers, but it will clear out quickly. Jack Kiser, J.D. Bertrand and Marist Liufau will all be seniors next year in terms of eligibility. Meanwhile, Kollie and Sneed will continue to get looks behind the veteran core. 

“[Bowen] understands that there’s going to be a learning curve, and Notre Dame has some veteran linebackers,” Kelly said. “He’s going to wait his turn, and when he gets it, you’re going to see the impact he can make. But I wouldn’t be surprised if you see him on special teams already next year.”

Contact Tyler Reidy at [email protected]

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