Recruit Focus: Branden Bowen

All information in this post is courtesy of  BeaverBlitz and Hudl.  Again, I highly recommend both of these sites for the best and latest information on Beaver Football recruiting.

All reviews are just MY OPINION, and need to be taken as such. The coaches know more than me, understand the team’s needs better than I do and most likely differ with my opinions. I am just doing this for fun.

Branden Bowen

CURRENT RIVALS RANKING: 3 Star (5.6)
PROJECTED FINAL RIVALS RANKING:
3 Star (5.7)
HT: 6′ 7″
WT: 320
POS: Offensive Line
HOMETOWN: Draper, Utah
OTHER OFFERS: Boise State, BYU, Colorado, Nevada, Montana, San Diego State, Utah, Utah State, Washington State
CHANCE OF BEING A BEAVER: 50%

Hudl Profile

Position The Official Candy Report Sees this player at: Offensive Tackle
What Beaver this player reminds us of: Michael Phillip

STRENGTHS
– Huge frame and MASSIVE wing span
– Keeps legs driving on contact
– Very good feet, especially for a guy that is 6’7″
– Swallows up smaller players on contact
– Really drives guys back and down on contact
– Exceptionally strong upper body, pushes people around
– Great explosion on run plays and gets AMAZING pad level for his height
– Pretty fast getting to second level and does a great job of getting his body between the defender and the ball carrier
– Had numerous reach blocks that were athletic and effective (not just holding)
– Uses natural abilities to his advantage, long arms keep defenders off him
– Plays violently and will get his head in there even without a helmet (see Rivals Camp film)

QUESTIONS
– No snap to his punch. He lays his hands on defenders
– Can get caught lunging on pass blocks
– Footwork could be a little more concise and quicker

SUMMARY:
Branden Bowen is a huge, huge man.  Not only is he tall, but he has a frame that could easily hold 340 pounds and still be athletic.  Bowen has good upper body strength to go with this body and tends to drive players back and down. His Hudl Junior Highlight film is basically a series of videos of him shoving guys to the ground. While he is not going to do the same thing to Dylan Wynn, he does have a bit of nasty to his blocking.

The other thing I notice is how well he uses pad level for someone so tall.  He drives off the ball and gets under the pads of his opponents.  Often you see him driving guys to the ground in combo blocks or bringing his hands up under the defender to get their pad level even with or higher than his. Branden doesn’t just stand up, but fires out on drive blocks with a flat back and explosive first step.

His footwork is decent, with a good drop step on pass blocking and he covers pretty well with his feet once he makes contact. You get the feeling that he could get a little quicker and lighter on his feet, but he sets up well for a pass block and does a good job of container his man.  In his Rivals Camp Video (premium content) you see him extend and lean forward a bit and the defender uses his stance to blow by him and get to the bag. At his size, these are the things he has to worry about. He cannot get too far away from the defender on his pass drop so that he is chasing them and he cannot lean forward but has to keep his feet under him at all times.

The final thing I will say is that it is worth watching his film a few times to really get a feel for what he is like as a player.  When a guy is this big, he looks like he is swatting flies out there.  It is easy to discount the strength he has and the parts of his technique that are solid like pad level and hand punch. Bowen has a huge upside and has moved up my list for Beaver linemen recruits.

Silly Shot In The Dark Guess
My silly, shot-in-the dark guess is that should Bowen come to Oregon State, he has the potential to be a 2-year starter at Offensive Tackle.  A redshirt year will go a long way for Brennen so he can spend time with Coach Miller and Coach Cav refining his technique and improving his footwork and quickness.  I don’t think Bowen will compete right off the bat, but he will not sit long. I can see him being in the two deep as a redshirt freshman and with the questions at tackle OSU has right now, he could see the field far sooner than I am projecting.

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