Heading into the 2021 college football season, it was automatically assumed that the starting quarterback job for the Michigan Wolverines would be a two-man race between last year’s breakout prospect, Cade McNamara, and five-star incoming recruit J.J. McCarthy.
But according to one of the most well-respected football publications in all the land, McNamara and McCarthy have a new challenger in Ann Arbor: Texas Tech transfer Alan Bowman, who was quietly brought into the competition by head coach Jim Harbaugh this offseason.
While Bowman doesn’t have the hype and the name appeal of McNamara or the five-star pedigree, live arm and guru approval of McCarthy, he doesn’t have something the other signal callers can’t match at this point in their careers: three mostly full seasons under his belt as a college quarterback, the way that Bowman does from his time with the Red Raiders.
New Michigan QB Broke One of Patrick Mahomes’ Most Impressive Records
In 2018 Bowman, who arrived in Lubbock as a three-star QB prospect from Grapevine, Texas, turned in an unforgettable, record-setting performance against the Houston Cougars, throwing for a school record (for a freshman) 605 yards, eclipsing former Texas Tech superstar Patrick Mahomes’ record.
The performance landed Bowman in the Big 12 record books for most passing yards in a game by a freshman quarterback.
Bowman went on to complete 69.4% of his passes that season, finishing with 2,638 yards and 17 touchdowns through the air, tied for the highest completion percentage by a Texas Tech QB since Seth Doege in 2012 (70.2%).
Bowman also threw 151 career passes before his first interception.
Heading into the 2019 season, the budding star tweeted the following video in preparation for his next go-round with the Red Raiders’ well-oiled passing machine, mentioning some of the program’s all-time greats.
Kingsbury, Symons, Cumbie, Harrell, Webb, Mayfield, Mahomes…who’s next?
— Alan Bowman (@alanbowman_) February 6, 2019
Bowman finished the subsequent two seasons with completion percentage marks of 64.7% and 65.6% respectively in 2020 and 2019, however, tapering off considerably from his stellar freshman season.
Despite a down season in 2020, he still put up numbers on par with some of the college game’s biggest stars.
Highest accurate pass % among returning power five QBs
1. Spencer Rattler, OU – 66.3%
2. Alan Bowman, UM transfer – 64.9%
3. Spencer Sanders, OK St – 64.8%
4. Sam Howell, UNC – 64.7% pic.twitter.com/8I5A2xQjLv
— PFF College (@PFF_College) May 19, 2021
Now, in a piece of news that seems to have slipped under the radar, Bowman could have a strong chance to become the Michigan Wolverines’ starter in 2021, according to PFF as noted by Chris Balas of The Wolverine.
“Pro Football Focus did a recent season preview and they were projecting the quarterback and they had Alan Bowman starting at Michigan,” Balas noted at the 18:37 mark of the video below.
Despite unnamed PFF, projection the longtime Wolverine analyst still believes strongly that McNamara or (most likely) the highly-touted freshman McCarthy are likely to get the starting nod over Bowman despite the flashes of potential he showed in Texas.
“I do think it’s J.J. McCarthy’s team at some point, I don’t know how soon but he’s the guy; everybody says that he’s got that look of a Michigan quarterback,” Balas continued.
Aside from PFF, another veteran, well-respected source of football analysis also believes Bowman is a legitimate contender for the QB1 job: Phil Steele, makers of the popular season preview guides.
According to Clayton Safie of The Wolverine, Steele picked Bowman as the starter.
“He said he watched a lot of Alan Bowman at Texas Tech and he liked what he brought to the table,” Safie says at the 22:36 mark of the video above.
Steele also believes McCarthy and McNamara will be in the mix, while Safie believes this could be a job that will be won in the fall.
“He liked what (Bowman) brought to the table; (but) he also noted it could be any one of those three guys,” Safie continued.