Make room, Cujo Nation, for another name in the conversation of all-time John Tyler football greats.
Based on his stellar play at multiple positions in multiple sports, senior defensive end Tyus Bowser belongs in discussion as one of the best to put on the blue-and-white.
Bowser’s production and winning nature — a combined 12 playoff wins and five varsity district titles in football and basketball — speak volumes about his place in Lions lore. His high school varsity resume reads 171 tackles (50 for loss), 29 sacks, two defensive touchdowns (eight total) and one safety.
Bowser bagged an eye-opening 19 sacks in JT’s first 12 games, including seven in last week’s area-round win over Wylie. Bowser and the Lions hope to create their own legacy, one needing only four wins to be cemented with a state championship.
“It’s big because it lives on forever,” Bowser said of leaving a mark with a title. “The people coming up learn from you; Being able to see how you play, and what you do outside the field matters a lot. It’s important to try to leave a legacy for the younger people.
The 6-3, 230-pounder punishes offensive linemen with brute strength, sprinter’s speed (4.58-second 40-yard dash) and the agility of a skill-position player.
Against Wylie, Bowser added kickoff return duties to his repertoire, taking his first one back 52 yards, although a block-in-the back penalty brought the long gain back.
“His size, speed and technique makes him a matchup problem for anybody that we go against,” JT head coach Ricklan Holmes said of the all-state candidate. “His ability to outrun lineman, to run through linemen, to avoid blocks, is what’s causing problems for the quarterback to get the ball off in time. He’s a game-changer right now.”
When mentioning Bowser, past names such as David Warren naturally jump to mind. Warren went down as arguably the school’s best defensive player ever after a memorable four-year varsity career featuring 46 wins, a state championship and national and state player of the year awards while becoming the nation’s top recruit.
Holmes, who played alongside Warren at JT in the 1990s, calls it a fair comparison to put Bowser in the same sentence with Warren, a 6-4 specimen in his own right. Warren won the 200-meter dash in high school, played varsity basketball, and later starred for Florida State and competed in the NFL with Indianapolis and Oakland and in the Canadian Football League.
Bowser and Warren own the distinction of being on the short list of JT players to play significantly on three 11-win teams. Others on the list include Eric Davis, Mickey Jones and Michael Oliver. The other four all made all-state, an honor Bowser appears destined for.
“I think it’s (fair),” Holmes said of the parallels between Bowser and Warren. “Any time you’re producing the number of tackles and sacks as he’s doing, and being a versatile player, you have to put him in the same category. He’s being consistent and understanding exactly what he needs to do to get things done.”
Along with comparing to past greats, Bowser often gets sized up against himself, as in the basketball player. Bowser earned All-East Texas honors the past two years, and claimed the district’s most valuable player superlative as a junior.
Bowser, holds football offers from the likes of Louisiana-Lafayette, Memphis, Missouri, Texas Tech and West Virginia. Basketball, a sport his father (Kevin Bowser) and mother (Sonya Chatman- Davis) both excelled in, remains an option after high school.
“I try to perform so they’ll know I’m able to do both sports,” said Bowser, who has compiled 65 tackles, 30 behind the line of scrimmage, and added 16 quarterback hurries, six caused fumbles and three fumble recoveries, one for a TD.
“I have a lot to prove on the football field and basketball court,” said Bowser, who made the all-tournament team at wide receiver at the 7-on-7 state tournament in College Station this summer. “You’ll have to wait and see. I work hard trying to be good in all sports (and positions). I try to stay ready.”
Bowser can stomach putting off basketball at least another month as the Lions look to snap an 18-year drought without a state football title.
“We believe in each other,” said Bowser, who has 65 tackles, 30 for loss, and 16 quarterback hurries on the season. “We believe we can go far.”
LIONS’ TALES: John Tyler is making school history with its fourth consecutive appearance in the regional round. JT sports a 12-0 all-time record in regionals. Tickets to the JT-Frisco game at 7:30 p.m. Friday at Allen’s Eagle Stadium can be purchased at the Tyler ISD athletic office and T&T Lewis. Tickets cost $4 for students and $6 for adults, and $10 at the gate. Eagle Stadium seats a capacity of 18,000, which includes 6,500 reserved bench seats (5,000 on the home side), along with 5,000 general admission seats and another 4,000 in the end zone. The stadium sits on 72 acres and features more than 5,000 parking spaces. Holmes mentioned Baylor’s Floyd Casey Stadium in Waco as a possible destination should JT advance to the state quarterfinals next week.