Merrillville (Ind.) Andrean’s Drayk Bowen, the No. 81 player and No. 6 linebacker according to the 2023 On3 Consensus, spoke with Blue & Gold over the weekend about several topics related to Notre Dame and his role recruiting other players to join him in South Bend. Check out the Q&A below.
That Lou Holtz quote you used in a recent tweet is pretty legendary. And in your post, you said that it was “never Notre Dame until it became Notre Dame.” Can you explain that a little bit more?
Bowen: “I never really thought it’d be Notre Dame for me. I was thinking SEC or bust; that was what was always on TV and what I was paying attention to. Really, I never thought about Notre Dame or wanted to go to Notre Dame. But it ended up being Notre Dame.”
What clicked for you for it to become Notre Dame? Obviously, Marcus Freeman and the coaching staff was a big part, but what other factors about Notre Dame made it click for you?
Bowen: “Obviously, the degree. You can do anything with that degree. And the brotherhood there with the players — I got to know the 2022 class and loved them. I got to know more and more of the current players. I felt like I was going to fit in perfectly there. And the campus — I love being there.”
Tell me about your recruiting style. You seem like a great ambassador of the program. We just see the tweets of how you recruit publicly. What else is there behind the scenes that you do to recruit for the Irish?
Bowen: “Just getting to know the players — texting them, when they’re going to be at Notre Dame, what they like about other schools and feeding them what made me want to go to Notre Dame and what they could see too. It’s about building the relationship on a personal level. I build the friendship; even if they don’t go to Notre Dame, we still are friends at the end of the day.”
Do you know how many times you’ve been up to Notre Dame?
Bowen: “Like 12 or 13 — something like that.”
Thirteen is my count. There’s nothing left for you to see on the visits. You’re just going on those visits to continue building relationships and recruit, right?
Bowen: “Yes sir. The summer visits went great. I got to meet just about everybody we’re recruiting. I got to also know some of the 2024 commits. It’s been a really fun summer.”
Did you get to meet CJ Carr last Tuesday? He’s like the Drayk Bowen of the 2024 class. What have you thought about him recruiting so far?
Bowen: “Yes sir, I met CJ. I love how he’s recruiting. He’s the quarterback, so he’s already got those leadership qualities. Him taking over the 2024 class is a great thing. Those recruits will look to him.”
How’s your relationship with the Irish staff? You’ve been committed for so long and have visited so many times. You should probably have your own parking spot on campus at this point.
Bowen: “They’re basically like family now. I can just show up and do really whatever I want for visits. Once I get there for a recruiting day, I can go early to the Gug and hang out and welcome people when they come in. Those coaches are basically like my second family.”
What have been your thoughts about ND in the news here recently? The Shamrock Series uniforms, the Yankees tweeting a photo of Marcus Freeman — it just seems like Notre Dame has been in the news for good things its doing this offseason.
Bowen: “I love it. Notre Dame bringing that swagger back. I love how Notre Dame and Coach Freeman have been getting publicity. He’s done a great job leading the program. He’s around more and doing stuff with the players more. And you see what he’s doing in recruiting. He deserves it, works hard and wants Notre Dame to be on top. I’m excited for him and Notre Dame.”
And you like the jersey reveal video?
Bowen: “Yes sir, I thought it was awesome.”