PERU – From the “Campus of a Thousand Oaks” to the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” former Peru State football player Stephen Bowers will get his shot at the NFL.
The 6’2″, 234-pound defensive end was invited to participate in the Minnesota Vikings minicamp. He reports on Thursday.
Bowers, who finished his senior season ranked 45th in NAIA in total sacks (6), says he missed the initial call from the Vikings because he was working out at Warren Academy in Omaha – something he has been doing ever since he finished his Bobcats career in November.
“I was like ‘who do I know from Minnesota?’ And when I realize who it was and they said I’m invited to the camp, I could stop smiling,” Bowers said. “In my head I was like ‘I need to go back to they gym!’ I was super excited. It means a lot, especially coming from a small school. It just shows hard work pays off.”
— Stephen Bowers ???????? (@StephenBowersDE) April 28, 2019
The Papillion-LaVista graduate played for Peru State from 2015-2018. He earned one of the team captain spots last fall and was selected to the Heart of America Athletic Conference (North) Division First Team.
Bowers finished his collegiate career with 130 total tackles, including 21.5 sacks and 35 tackles for loss. He also had five pass break-ups and an interception.
He says he isn’t sure what to expect this week in Minneapolis, but he has spent the last 24 hours studying NFL training camps on Youtube to learn more and pick up any insight. He also plans to reach out to a few contacts with professional football experience for any extra tips.
“My ultimate goal is to make the team at all cost and eventually become a starting pro bowler.” Bowers said. “I think I have the athletic ability. I just have to work even harder. I have to be ready to compete and earn the coaches trust that I can play the game. Go a 110% on every rep.”
Bowers joins former Nebraska prep athletes Iowa tight end Noah Fant (Omaha South), North Dakota State Easton Stick (Omaha Creighton Prep) and Nebraska linebacker Luke Gifford (Lincoln) on NFL rosters going into rookie minicamp this week.
He’s also the seventh player from the NAIA who has either signed or was invited to a minicamp.
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