Glenn’s Bowden signs with ECU
Four years ago, Yiannis Bowden had no intentions of playing in college. In fact, he wasn’t even playing football yet.
Over his career at Glenn, though, he has worked hard, capitalized on his natural gifts and become one of the area’s best players. Now, he’s signed with East Carolina University to continue playing at the NCAA Division I level.
“I’m very excited,” says Bowden, the son of Boysie and Tymesia of Winston-Salem. “My parents are behind me too, and they’re excited for me. I’m very very glad, very proud of myself for keeping up with it.”
His athletic career, unlike many of his peers’, didn’t begin until high school. Bowden, who grew up in High Point before moving just before high school, started out as a wide receiver. Tall and fast, he was good there, but the Bobcats soon moved him to defensive end.
Bowden, now 6 feet, 5 inches and 215 pounds, initially found the move difficult. But once he got down the basics, like the three-point stance, his speed, size and strength quickly gave him a tremendous advantage over his opponents.
“The first game at defensive end, he had a couple of sacks,” Glenn coach Aldine Payne says. “Then, the second game against Parkland, he had like six sacks in first half. I walked by the JV coach and said, ‘I hope you’ve enjoyed it, because it’s his last game as a JV player.’”
Over the next few years, Bowden, also an all-conference performer on the basketball and track teams, thrived. His junior year, when he started getting recruited pretty heavily, he had a standout game against High Point Central, which featured many players he’d grown up with.
“I knew coming into that game, because I was a transfer from there, it was going to be a big game for me,” he says, recalling he had three sacks that game and gave him confidence in his play. “The intensity was great. So, I just played and had a very good game.“
He finished his career with two Piedmont Triad All-Conference selections and, as a senior, had a particularly huge game against state-ranked Northwest Guilford where the Bobcats beat the Vikings in overtime, Bowden finishing off the win with a forced and recovered fumble.
“I think the biggest thing is what a nice guy he is,” Payne says. “You really wouldn’t think he’d play football, as nice as he is. But it’s his length, his size. He has unbelievable arm strength, and his speed. He’s just so fast. I don’t think he knows how good he can be.
“The best time to see him perform is in practice. That’s when he really turns it on because he’s not afraid of making a mistake. In games, he’s worried about doing this or doing that. So, I think once he learns to do that in games, he’s going to be unbelievable.”
In weighing schools, Bowden narrowed his top choices to also include Clemson and Florida State. But when it came down to choosing, he selected the Pirates, who also feature former Glenn standout Josh Hawkins, just before his senior season.
“East Carolina’s a very good football team. I was very excited, and when I told my parents they were very excited for me too,” says Bowden, who wants to study business. “I really like the program, the school’s great, and the coaches were very welcoming.”