Texas Tech football: Alan Bowman on Unitas Award watchlist

Alan Bowman is on the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award watchlist and if he is a contender for the honor, it will mean the Texas Tech football team is in store for a nice season.

Alan Bowman is a good quarterback.  The problem is that we haven’t seen him have enough opportunities to prove that over the last two seasons.

But apparently he’s done enough in his eleven career appearances to warrant consideration for the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as he has been named to the award watchlist to begin the season.

According to the award’s website, “The winner of the Golden Arm Award is recognized not only for his athletic accomplishments, but also for his character, citizenship, scholastic achievement, leadership qualities, and athletic abilities.”

Of course, the elephant in the room with Bowman has to be the question of whether or not he can remain healthy for a full season.  That’s something he’s yet to do as he saw action in only eight games as a true freshman in 2018 and a mere three games last fall.

But when he’s been on the field, he’s been able to put up impressive numbers.  In the eight games he’s started and did not leave with an injury, he’s averaged 379.3 yards passing.  What’s more, he’s thrown for a total of 19 TDs with just 9 picks.

However, the last time we saw Bowman execute the offense of OC David Yost, the results were not pretty.  In 2019’s 28-14 loss to Arizona, the sophomore completed just 54.5% of his passes (the second-lowest percentage of his career) and was picked off twice.  In that game, he was injured by a blitzing LB which drove him to the turf but he finished the game despite suffering a cracked collar bone on that play.

Should he remain healthy this year and perform well enough to be in consideration for the Unitas Award, it will likely mean that Tech will be in for a surprisingly good season.  After all, the QB is the biggest question mark on the offensive side of the ball.

There will be plenty of weapons surrounding Bowman.  He will have senior receiver T.J. Vasher and last year’s leading receiver, sophomore Erik Ezukanma both back on the outside.  Inside, he will be throwing to senior TE Travis Koontz and a trio of slot receivers in KeSean Carter, Dalton Rigdon, and McLane Mannix who are all explosive with the football in their hands.

Meanwhile, the emergence of sophomore RB SaRodorick Thompson could also do wonders for Bowman, especially in helping him take fewer hits.  Last year, the Irving native ran for a team-high 765 yards and 12 TDs as he stepped forward to become one of the Big 12’s best young backs.

We can expect Tech to rely even more heavily on Thompson this year meaning that defenses won’t be able to pin their ears back and come after Bowman as often.  That should only serve to help protect him and keep him in the mix for what we hope is a full season.

Of course, Tech will be breaking in two new starters at tackle meaning that the edge of the o-line will have to come around quickly for Bowman to have the type of protection he will need.  That will be crucial because, as we’ve seen when he’s been on the field, when Bowman has time to throw he’s one of the most accurate passers in the last 20 years of Tech football.

The competition for this award is off the charts.  Last year’s recipient was Heisman Trophy winner and No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft Joe Burrow from LSU.  Thus, it would seem unlikely that Bowman will take his game to that type of level in 2020.  But if he plays well enough to stay on this watchlist as it is whittled down throughout the season, he will give Texas Tech the type of play at QB that the Red Raiders have not had in his absence and that could make all the difference this season.