The story of Peyton Bowen’s recruitment may just go down as one of the most riveting recruitment stories in the modern era. After many twists and turns, bouncing between Notre Dame, Oregon, and Oklahoma all in the span of about 30 hours, the Peyton Bowen saga has finally come to an end. The Denton Guyer standout signed with Oklahoma on Thursday after the most tumultuous recruitment that I have ever witnessed.
The Full Story on Why Peyton Bowen Chose Oklahoma
For many months now, the Peyton Bowen recruitment has been one of the most unpredictable in the country. He initially committed to Notre Dame in January, however, after his teammate and close friend Jackson Arnold committed to Oklahoma, there was an immense amount of speculation about him potentially flipping. For months, it appeared as though a flip was impending, but it never came to fruition until Early Signing Day when he flipped to… Oregon.
Oregon was picking up some steam late in the process, but not a whole lot of people believed that they were ever truly in the lead for Bowen. Whatever Dan Lanning and staff said to him seemed to work, at least at the time, when he tossed the Notre Dame hat aside and decided to commit to the Ducks. However, it wasn’t over yet. After several hours had gone by, Bowen had yet to sign his letter of intent to Oregon, and rumors began to surface that he was going to flip (again).
“I didn’t know where I was going until the last second right before I picked up the hat. I was debating it the whole time.” – Peyton Bowen
As time went on, the doubts began to grow larger and larger. More and more smoke began to rise. The following day, Rivals recruiting insider Nick Harris officially put in a crystal ball for Bowen to flip to Oklahoma. After that, a proverbial avalanche of crystal balls followed, all in favor of Oklahoma. A flip seemed all but inevitable. Eventually, the levee broke, and Bowen finally flipped to Oklahoma like so many expected previously.
“Soon after choosing Oregon yesterday morning, I came to the realization that the decision was not the best path for me. I immediately started to rethink my future.” – Peyton Bowen
After signing with Oklahoma, he issued a statement in which he apologized to both Notre Dame and Oregon about how he handled things.
Respect my Decision just want peace for me and my family
Boomer Sooner ⭕️U!! pic.twitter.com/ERfET7lIyG
— Peyton Bowen (@PeytonBowen10) December 22, 2022
He has received a lot of flak about the way he has handled the recruiting process, and understandably so. However, I don’t believe that he wanted all the drama. I truly believe that he was undecided on where he wanted to go, and with several people around him pulling him in different directions, he had a tough decision to make. Ultimately, he ended up at the place that he wanted to be.
Many think that it was odd that Bowen committed to Oklahoma when the Sooners didn’t even have a hat on the table. From what I’ve heard, there was an Oklahoma hat under the table that he potentially planned to pull out, however, this has been neither confirmed, nor denied.
What Will Peyton Bowen Bring to the Table for the Sooners?
With the addition of Peyton Bowen, Oklahoma’s safety room is looking extremely deep and rich with talent, complete 180 from the beginning of the 2022 season. Brandon Hall has done an amazing job turning it around, and adding the right pieces there. Billy Bowman, Robert Spears-Jennings, Key Lawrence, Reggie Pearson, and now Peyton Bowen round out the room. Needless to say, the Sooners are set at safety for the foreseeable future.
Analyst Gabe Brooks projects Bowen as a second round talent for when his time comes to leave for the NFL. He is touted as a “versatile playmaker” with excellent ball skills and instincts. For more analysis, click here. I expect him to sit behind, and eventually take over for Billy Bowman at the free safety position. Ironically, Bowman was a large part in why Bowen chose Oklahoma. To read more about that relationship, click here.
Oklahoma is building an absolute juggernaut on the defensive side of the ball. The commitment of Peyton Bowen marks the first composite five-star defender to commit to the Sooners since Caleb Kelly in 2016. Bowen is the first composite five-star defensive back to commit to OU since Donte Nicholson in 2003. Brent Venables and co. have done a terrific job on the recruiting trail in year one, and are building the foundation for success early.
For more national recruiting coverage, follow me on twitter @_GIJones
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