DALLAS (FWAA) Record-breaking Georgia All-America tight end Brock Bowers has been named the recipient of the fourth annual FWAA Freshman of the Year presented by Chris Doering Mortgage.
"I think this guy is one of the premier players in college football," Alabama coach Nick Saban said in the days leading up to the College Football Playoff National Championship at Lucas Oil Stadium last Monday.
"I know he's just a freshman, but this guy's got great size, he's a good blocker, physical and he's tough," Saban said. "He's got wide receiver skills in every way, shape or form, which makes it difficult being a bigger guy for bigger guys to cover him and it makes it also difficult for smaller guys to cover him.
"So this guy is just a phenomenal football player all the way around."
The unquestioned most valuable player on the Georgia offense, Bowers led the Bulldogs with 56 catches for 882 yards and a program-record 13 receiving touchdowns.
"He's really dynamic," Michigan defensive coordinator Mike MacDonald said before Georgia beat the Wolverines in the CFP Semifinal Orange Bowl, 34-11. "The thing that they do with him is he can play he really plays every position. He'll play the Z, the Y, the X, the move guy, the down guy. They'll give it to him on reverses, screens. It's pretty impressive."
Bowers, who scored touchdowns in each of the last five games of the season, is the first player from Georgia and first tight end to win the award.
A 6-foot-3, 230-pounder from Napa, Calif., Bowers came advertised with a 40-inch vertical leap and 4.5-second speed in the 40-yard dash.
UGA offensive coordinator Todd Monken knew what he had in Bowers even before the season started.
"You can hand the ball to him if you want to," Monken said in August. "In his high school film, he played some fullback, in terms of route running. He's another guy that's a really diligent worker, he'll run himself into the ground with how hard he works, runs and competes."
Coach Kirby Smart chuckles when looking back at how the Bulldogs recruited him, largely off video during the COVID-19 pandemic.
"This was a guy that would put his phone up and go run up a mountain or a hill out in Napa," Smart said, "and sprint up the hill and back down the hill and send video of it. Like he was wired differently."
Bowers led Georgia with six catches for 43 yards in a season-opening 10-3 win over Clemson in a clash of then-Top 5 teams. The next week against UAB, Bowers showed speed that isn't often associated with the tight end position, catching a short pass and taking it 89 yards for a touchdown. The former five-star talent continued to be the go-to guy for Georgia throughout the season, recording a season-high 10 catches for 139 yards and a touchdown in the Bulldogs' first meeting with Alabama in the SEC title game.
Bowers proceeded to spark Georgia's win over Michigan with three catches on the opening drive, including a 9-yard TD catch to open the scoring. The SEC Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year capped off his season in the 2022 CFP National Championship with a 15-yard score that gave Georgia a 26-18 lead en route to its first national title in 41 years.
"Today's football is about creating matchup advantages for the offense and there's no bigger matchup advantage than Brock Bowers," said Chris Doering, former player, SEC Network football analyst and corporate sponsor of this year's award. "His size, speed, strength and athleticism make him incredibly versatile. Georgia was able to move him around all over the field to create those matchup advantages that paid dividends all season long including in the biggest games at the biggest moments. It's hard to believe Bowers was in high school last year as his acclimation to college football and the SEC seems to have been seamless."
Previous winners of the FWAA Freshman of the Year Award winners have been: Trevor Lawrence (Clemson, 2018); Kenny Gainwell (Memphis, 2019); and Will Anderson Jr. (Alabama, 2020).
Chris Doering Mortgage, based in Gainesville, Fla., was established in April 2007 as a residential lending company providing mortgage products including conventional, FHA, USDA and VA loans. The branch is a division of MortgageAdvisors.com 3940 NW 16th Blvd., Suite A, Gainesville, FL 32605 · NMLS 70168/1937321. FHA Lender ID 2631500094. Chris Doering Mortgage is committed to skillfully and ethically delivering the highest quality customer service throughout the mortgage process, with a team of professionals that strive to exceed the expectations of clients and business partners while continually educating and adapting to the changing needs of the industry. For more information, visit ChrisDoeringMortgage.com.
Founded in 1941, the Football Writers Association of America consists of journalists, broadcasters, publicists, photographers and key executives in all areas of college football. The FWAA works to govern media access and gameday operations while presenting awards and honors, including an annual All-America team. For more information about the FWAA and its programs and initiatives, contact Executive Director Steve Richardson at 214-870-6516 or firstname.lastname@example.org.