Taylor said one of his uncles — Bob — played for Georgia Tech and was even in on the play upon which the movie “Rudy” focused. Rudy was the abbreviated name friends pinned on Daniel Ruettiger, the 1993 film’s central character who was dyslexic and undersized but wanted to play football anyway and was on the field two plays for Notre Dame after playing on the Fighting Irish’s scout team.
Bob Bowen later was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys although he chose instead to become a contractor.
Another uncle, Alan Bowen, also played at Tech before a knee injury halted his playing days.
His dad, Scott, played football at Georgia Southern under the storied “Erk” Russell until a knee injury stopped his football career as well.
As for Taylor Bowen, his football career is moving to the next level as the Cartersville defensive standout has signed to play with The College of Wooster, a four-year college located in Wooster, Ohio. It is a NCAA Division III college that plays in the NCAC Athletic Conference.
Bowen said he became interested in Wooster after it contacted him through a website the Cartersville star had furnished particulars about himself.
“They were looking for a 6-foot, 1-inch guy, 250 to 260. I fit their mold,” the Purple Hurricane said.
He said he initially was not excited about the prospect of traveling to a school nine hours away from his Georgia roots, but he later came to see it as part of growing up. “It would give me some room and let me be by myself a little bit,” he said. “I think that’s what college is all about.”
He also liked the school when he visited it and is familiar with its style of defensive play.
“When I watched their spring drills, they were doing various drills from ladders to chutes to pads and hitting. It seemed a lot like what I had here at Cartersville,” he said.
Bowen was quick to point out that some changes are obvious. “It’s going to be a change in speed, of course, but I think the overall scheme of things is going to be the same.”
Cartersville head coach Frank Barden said the Fighting Scots will be getting a determined athlete who wants to contribute.
“Taylor is a very smart, well-rounded student-athlete, who’s a very high character kid,” he said. “With his work habits, you just see him being successful in his playing career and his academic career.”
He said Bowen, a two-year starter, also understands the importance of learning the game’s nuances.
“He’s played because of his hard work and his ability to play very smart,” Barden said. “He’s a good, solid player, a kid that was not going to be denied being on the field. He’s worked at it. He’s studied the game. He studied his position. He listened to his coaches.”
Bowen was one of the key cogs driving Cartersville’s potent defense last year.
“Our coaches did a great job on the defensive side of the ball,” Barden said. “Our d-line was very smart and very quick, very fast getting to the ball. They did a great job and Taylor was a leader on that line.”
He also cited the athlete for putting a lot of effort into each play.
“He’s dependable. That’s what you want. You want kids who have a passion for the game,” Barden said. “He’s got good feet for a big man. He’s athletic for a big man. His biggest strength was his willingness to work hard and study the game.”
The coach said the scholarship was well deserved. “I’m awfully proud of him and his family. It’s an opportunity to go on and not only further his football playing career but also to get an education.”
Bowen said his receiving a scholarship has a lot to do with what he learned at Cartersville from Barden, who helped inspire him to work hard, and his two position coaches, Steven Corrigan and Rusty Grimmett, who taught him countless things about playing his position.
“Without them I wouldn’t be where I am today, and I appreciate everything they’ve done for me.”
Those coaches helped Bowen become a part of solid defense at Cartersville and help make the most of his aggressive style of football, one that caught Wooster’s attention.
“I just like to get after it,” Bowen said. “I like to have fun while doing it, but, most important, I like to get after it and win some ball games.”
The Cane was on a team that ranked in the Top 10 defensively in AAA ball and he understands the value of practice in racking up wins.
“A big key to that was the way we practiced, the leadership between me and Devin O’Connor. Every day with practice, we’d pick the guys up and tell them this is what we need to do in order to be where we need to be,” he said.
That attitude of helping his team win started at a young age for Bowen and is one of the reasons he stayed in the game.
“When I was 6 years old, my first year of rec football ... I didn’t really like it. I was kind of hesitant to keep playing football, but when that time came around to sign up again for 7-year-olds my parents talked me into it.”
He said that year he made a big play that helped his team win and it has remained a thrill to this day.
“I’ll never forget this but I had this one specific play where — I played linebacker — I went up and took the ball from a guy and ran it back for a touchdown. That’s kind of what boosted me into staying in football. It was a big moment because it was the first time something I did was so big as to help my team out. It was one of those glorifying moments, I guess. It was a lot of fun.”
Mike Schmitz, head coach, said his Wooster staff is expecting big things from Bowen, too.
“We expect Taylor to come in and immediately challenge for varsity playing time at defensive tackle,” Schmitz said. “Although nearly 6 foot, 2 inches, Taylor is still growing. We believe he has all the tools to be a dominant player and help lead our program to championships over the next four years.”
Bowen said he will use this summer to prepare.
“This summer’s going to be a big chance for me to work hard, get strong, get fast and go in having something to prove,” he said. “I’ll be working out at school Monday, Wednesday and Friday, from 8 until 11, just getting bigger and faster.”
At Cartersville, the new Fighting Scot lettered four years with the varsity, earned the Captain’s Award in 2012 and was named football captain for 2011-12.
Scott Bowen, his father, said Taylor always worked hard to become a good athlete.
“Taylor has always challenged himself since a little boy. He always wanted to take the most challenging courses in school, do the hardest workouts and lead by example,” Scott Bowen stated. “What Cartersville High has instilled in him will carry him far at The College of Wooster and later in life. I simply could not be prouder of my son.”