Rivals.com - Rivals100 safety Peyton Bowen commits to Notre Dame
{{ timeAgo('2022-01-01 11:22:27 -0600') }} football Edit

Rivals100 safety Peyton Bowen commits to Notre Dame

Peyton Bowen announced his commitment to Notre Dame on Saturday
Peyton Bowen announced his commitment to Notre Dame on Saturday

Peyton Bowen ushered in the new year with style as the Rivals100 defensive back committed to Notre Dame. Alabama, Oklahoma and USC were other programs in the mix for the nation's No. 77 overall player and the No. 6 safety nationally.

Head coach Marcus Freeman recruited Bowen from his time as defensive coordinator, which ultimately made a huge difference in his recruitment. Chris O'Leary, the defensive backs coach, also played a large role in bringing Texas' No. 1-ranked safety to South Bend.

So far, the Irish are sitting with a top-10 recruiting class for the Class of 2022 cycle. The addition of elite safety Bowen in the 2023 class bolsters Notre Dame's top-ranked. Bowen is the second defensive back and fifth commitment inside the top-100 nationally.

Here's more on the commitment:

IN HIS OWN WORDS

On Marcus Freeman's role: "They're not so big on recruiting a lot of guys. They recruit a limited amount of players and not a lot of safeties from their 2022 class left a lot of room for me when I get there. Kyle Hamilton is already leaving so by the time I get there, I could redshirt or possibly play as a freshman if I show out and do what I have to do to earn a starting position. If I can start quickly at one of the most prestigious schools with the most draft picks ever ..."

On how Notre Dame's recruiting stood out: "The way they check in on me three times a week. The coaches all text me and Coach O'Leary talks to me three times a week, Coach Freeman calls me during the week and they show they care for me. Coach O'Leary said I already feel like a part of his family and it means a lot for them to say those kinds of things. They didn't wait to recruit me; they did a lot of it in the offseason and they've trusted me in from a young age."

On Kyle Hamilton and Notre Dame's DB history: "I talked to Kyle a little before the North Carolina game when he was hurt. We chopped it up and talked to him about Notre Dame and what he liked. Coach O'Leary and Coach Bowden said it all -- that I can follow in his footsteps and possibly even be better. It's a hard task, sure, but with the right mindset, I could do it. I got to lock into what I have to do, and at the end of the day, the plan for Notre Dame is a really good plan and I'll also get a good degree."

On how Bowen separates himself: "It's just his work ethic. Peyton does stuff every week. After game day, he's doing recovery work, speed patterns with our guy Dantonio Jordan in the Guyer area; he's over here with me doing skills (training) and in-game reads. The instincts he has a player -- I've seen it before on other safeties where they can find the ball ... Peyton just makes it look so effortless."

On Bowen's play style: "The ball-hawking game reminds me of J.D. Coffey. He can find the ball anywhere even when you're trying not to throw it, you can accidentally find a way to throw the ball to him. With Peyton, it's also the physicality and burst. He's so explosive. It reminds me of Deuce Harmon, so shoutout to Coach Keefe, the strength and conditioning coach at Guyer, the way he's developed guys like Peyton that come downhill hitting, going hash to hash; covering from the nickel, corner, safety or playing receiver. Whatever you need, he's physically in shape to get it done."

On Bowen's upside at the next level: "Even though it's early, I've been saying it for a long time -- Peyton is the best safety in the country. All the things we haven't seen him do that we know he can do. We've seen a lot of film, but we don't have track times. The way he plays, you can see how he goes from zero to 100 in three steps. He accelerates and you see it on kick returns. It's effortless. On interception returns ... anytime the balls in his hands he has the ability to score. If he isn't on the field as safety as a freshman, you have no choice but to play him at nickel or corner. He's like Minkah Fitzpatrick; a playmaker that sees the ball and makes a play and every time he touches the ball you have to pay attention because he can score."

-- Christian White, Peyton's longtime trainer and DB specialist

On Notre Dame's recruitment of Bowen: "If you're a defensive player, you definitely want to play for a defensive-minded head coach. It's ideal. Coach Freeman formed a good relationship with Peyton and some of the other guys on our team. He's been the driving force behind that one being a defensive mind at head coach. I know that early playing time is gonna play a role."

On Bowen's upside at Notre Dame: "They're getting a top-tier safety. In my opinion, he's one of the top two or three safeties in the country. He's very physical when he has to be a run-stuffer and he can cover quite a bit of field. A lot of games, he's been on one hash and then they hang up one on the other side of the numbers and he's there. He can cover sideline to sideline but also fill an alley if need be."

-- Mike Gallegos, Denton Guyer assistant coach and recruiting coordinator

RIVALS REACTION

One of the best players in Texas regardless of position and one of the most dynamic defensive backs in the Class of 2023. The 6-foot-1, 190-pounder is a well-rounded safety capable of playing multiple positions back deep and making plays in pass coverage and against the run. Bowen is an enforcer from sideline to sideline as he drops back in coverage or steps up to make a play underneath. He's position-versatile and impactful anywhere on the field with a natural pull toward the football.

Over the course of his junior season with two in-game evaluations of Guyer and Bowen, he's been sharp as a center-fielder covering a ton of real estate at the back end of the secondary. The same applied last month at the UIL Texas state championship games at AT&T Stadium. Bowen was all over the field making tackles in space and helping in coverage during Guyer's emphatic first half on defense against Austin Westlake.

As an impact underclassman, Bowen captured District 5-6A Co-Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors. He's shined as a hybrid safety that can make plays back deep or near the line of scrimmage. He's outstanding as a positionless defensive back that's physical with elite instincts and closing speed with the unique ability to take interceptions back to the house. The same goes in the return game and in multiple phases on special teams, another area of emphasis at Guyer.