John Madsen knew two things when he first saw the rising senior step toward him.
One: This kid, Branden Bowen, has a chance to play football for a long time.
Branden Bowen at a glance
» Began career as a tight end at Juan Diego
» Switched to tackle at Corner Canyon
» Three-star prospect by Scout, Rivals, 247Sports
» Offers from 10 schools, including Utah, Oregon State, Colorado and Washington State
Two: If he wants to play football for a long time, there’s plenty of work to do.
That was in the spring — now it’s July, and Bowen, a 6-foot-7, 315-pound behemoth of an offensive lineman from Corner Canyon has overhauled his massive frame. His midsection is slimmer, his chest is broader, and his lifts have soared under his training regimen with John Madsen Performance.
This fall, he hopes to show that it’s not just his body that’s become stronger. He wants to prove he belongs among Utah’s elite high school players and recruiting prospects.
"It’s been crazy, to say the least," he said. "A lot of hard work has paid off. But recruiting is getting more exhausting."
A relative latecomer on the recruiting scene, Bowen’s recruiting has picked up significantly as teams get an eyeful of his size. He currently sports 10 Division I offers, including Colorado, Oregon State, Utah, Washington State, BYU and a chunk of Mountain West schools.
Just over a year ago, Bowen was trying to change positions in a brand new program. The Chargers were starting their first year under coach Don Eck, and Bowen was immediately moved from tight end to tackle. There’s a mental switch linemen have to make, Eck said, to be able to battle in the trenches. These last few months of the offseason, Bowen has made the necessary adjustment.
"I told him not to settle to be recruited by a few schools, try to be the best offensive tackle in the country," he said. "I don’t know if he’s the hardest-working tackle in the country, but he’s sure trying to be."
Bowen has been selective about attending showcases and camps, trying to keep healthy for the upcoming season. Besides working on his weights, he’s worked on his agility and speed to keep light on his feet — like an actual tackle instead of just a big body.
"He’s an athlete who I think will just dominate next year," Madsen said. "I feel sorry for the kids who are going to have to go against him."
Although he spent a lot of time at the Utes’ spring football camp, Bowen says he doesn’t necessarily have one school ahead of the others, although he said the power conference programs are more appealing. He hopes to decide sometime in December after he’s had a chance to visit some schools and see if more offers crop up.
As a young program, Corner Canyon could use the attention he would bring to the school. But even more, they need their tackle to be ready to bowl over defenses.
"I’m excited for the season," he said. "It’s cool that I can be one of the first guys to come out of Corner Canyon and be a prospect. Hopefully we can bring that energy to the field."
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