The moment Chanute starting quarterback Ty Bowman has been waiting for has come and passed.
On Wednesday at Chanute High School, the 6’6” gunslinger signed his letter of intent to become a preferred walk-on football player for Kansas State University this coming fall.
“You know, I always held myself to the expectations to do the greatest I could, and just seeing all my hard work and all the hours to becoming a better athlete is finally paying off, and it’s just a dream come true,” Bowman said amongst dozens of family, friends, coaches and administrators Wednesday.
The document he actually signed Wednesday was a walk-on invitation. There are walk-on opportunities for student-athletes to try out for a team, but for Bowman, he was invited by K-State to walk on with an opportunity to earn a scholarship later.
Bowman said K-State head coach Chris Klieman had a specific message about competing for a college football job.
“He just said, ‘Come in with a mindset of not being scared of being a walk-on,’’’ Bowman said. “He said, ‘We’re going to treat you like everyone else on the team. You’ll have all the opportunities the same as the others… Just said come in here with an open mind and do the best you can, you’ll get your scholarship.’”
Earning that scholarship starts with proving he can do whatever it takes, as Bowman has shifted gears from being a quarterback in high school to a position player in college. With nine walk-ons set to start on special teams for the Wildcats this fall, Bowman said the fastest way for him as a freshman to earn a scholarship is to play a role as a special teams player.
For practices, however, he will train with the wide receivers.
He hopes to use his size and speed displayed on offense and defense during his Blue Comet years to be an effective college player, and eventually on a scholarship.
The notion of even training with Division I-level college football players started the summer after Bowman’s sophomore year, when he started attending football camps during which college coaches could set their eyes on one of the better athletes in Southeast Kansas.
One of the first coaches to contact Bowman after these camps was KSU wide receivers coach Jason Ray. Bowman said the fact that KSU has been with him since the beginning is what made the decision that much easier.
But Bowman needed to showcase his talents. Last football season, he passed for 1,273 yards, ran for 822 yards and produced 30 touchdowns – 18 passing and 12 rushing – en route to the state sectionals and the most successful CHS football season (9-2, 4-1) since the 2012 season.
All of this success led to earning a spot on the All-SEK first-team offense, a nomination for Sports In Kansas 4A Player of the Year, an All-State selection, and a Shrine Bowl selection.
CHS head football coach Clete Frazell, a KSU fan, said he saw the potential for Bowman being a Division I athlete all along.
“First of all, he’s got great character, he’s got great grades (3.4 GPA), takes care of business in the classroom, treats people right and he works hard – those skills that eliminate a lot of people the possibility of doing something like he’s done,” Frazell said. “And then you put on top his athleticism, the height, his size, and he’s the total package. A kid like him is hard to come by and is a special one. There are quite a few kids with his same abilities, the same size, strength and height, speed and all those things. But when you put the character, the work ethic and how he’s developed over time from just working hard every day, that’s what separates him from the rest – his toughness and willingness to keep working every day.”
Bowman looks to continue his hard work as he studies kinesiology and takes prerequisite classes for physical therapy. He said there is a strong chance he will enroll in a professional school for physical therapy, too.