TAMPA, Fla. -- Troy Bowles kicked off the weekend DR Sportz 7-on-7 tournament in a strong way for Team Tampa. The NFL legacy, who is the son of Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Todd Bowles, broke up a pair of passes and intercepted another to cap the kickoff game for the eventual tournament champions.
The all-around game for Bowles, a rising-senior recruit at Tampa (Fla.) Jesuit High School, speaks for itself. He is a commanding presence with the modern combination of physicality and athleticism to project as a three-down player, part of the reason 40 scholarship offers are already in to him in the recruiting class of 2023.
Prior to the weekend tournament, the standout linebacker completed a busy spring swing on the unofficial visit front, including stops at Georgia, Alabama, Auburn, Florida and Oklahoma.
The trip to Athens was a chance for time spent with one of the nation's top linebacker recruiters.
"Definitely coach (Glenn) Schuman," Bowles told Sports Illustrated. "He's a down-to-earth person, he tells me everything straight as it is, even if it's not what I want to hear. He's straight to the core on everything. We talk a lot.
"I like him and coach (Kirby) Smart, and everything they have to offer."
While in Tuscaloosa, Bowles connected with Nick Saban from an in-person perspective for the first time. He earned an offer from the champion coach while on campus.
"Everybody wants to meet Nick Saban and everything," he said. "But just the culture around there, it's all about winning, obviously. It was cool to go down there first-hand and see the facilities, the coaches and how they run things down there.
"Talking to Saban was cool, he's a hard dude to read (laughing). It's cool talking to him. He said they like me at middle 'backer, they like how I run, hit and that I have a nose for the ball."
Iron Bowl rival Auburn got the Floridian on campus next, and aside from a new connection to Bryan Harsin's staff, the Tigers have long held general attention dating back to the program's last national title.
"I loved it," Bowles said. "Growing up, that was my school because of Cam Newton. So it was so cool going up there to see everything. They also have the linebackers coach from the former Florida staff (Christian Robinson). We're still pretty locked-in and cool."
The Sooners hadn't been involved for Bowles until the new coaching staff was put in place.
"I like them a lot, too, especially since they got coach (Brent) Venables," he said. "As soon as he got there, he offered me and I like it. Also the defensive coordinator, coach (Ted) Roof, and some of the Clemson guys they took over there like coach (Todd) Bates."
There is a developing pipeline between Tampa Jesuit, which captured a state title in 2021, and the in-state Florida Gators. Tight end Jonathan Odom is one of the former Tigers on campus in Gainesville currently.
"It seems like it's a new culture down there," Bowles said. "Coach (Billy) Napier has a lot of things going on. The players, I talk to some of the players there because some played with me -- and they say they like it.
"All the players are fired up for what he is going to bring to the table."
The star prospect says he will focus on spring football after the busy visit swing, where plenty of coaches will be by to see Bowles and the state champions in action during the coming weeks, but no visits are currently scheduled thereafter.
Official visits are to be taken, likely in the month of June, though destinations are yet to be determined. Bowles did note a pair of programs he would like to see before a verbal commitment is made.
"I'm trying to get back to Clemson and I'm trying to go to Michigan State for the first time, I like coach (Mel) Tucker," he said.
Bowles has been consistent on the timeline for narrowing 40 scholarship offers to just one. He wants to wrap up the recruiting process before Jesuit begins its title defense in August.