Five-Star, Dual-Sport Rookie Andrean Drayk Bowen Chooses Notre Dame | NWI Preps Soccer

HIGHLAND — Nearly 5,000 miles of travel in June to visit college campuses led to five final trips and Wednesday night’s big decision.

Drayk Bowen of Andrean, the five-star, two-sport rookie, pledged his commitment to Notre Dame against Clemson and Auburn at the R-Bar in Highland.

“I want to tell little children that there is always a way out. Don’t let anyone tell you, you can’t do anything. You can dream it. You can achieve it. That being said, I’m going to commit to the University of Notre Dame,” Bowen said as he revealed a green Notre Dame shirt and cap.

5 stars, 5 schools, 2 sports: a look at the recruitment of junior Andrean Drayk Bowen

Bowen is ranked the No. 28 rookie in the nation, No. 2 linebacker, and Indiana’s top player among juniors according to Composite rating of 247. He’s the region’s highest-rated freshman since 2006 Merrillville graduate James Aldridge, ranked No. 27 nationally by Rivalswho chose Notre-Dame.

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Fellow 59ers Josh Barajas was a four-star rookie ranked No. 138 nationally by composite ranking of 247 in the class of 2015. He also picked Notre Dame, but injuries forced him to transfer and continue his career in the state of Illinois.

“(Notre Dame will) walk a hard worker in and out of the classroom,” Bowen said. “I’m going to try to take Notre Dame to that level that it has – national championships. … I really want to put Notre Dame above the edge and make it a national championship program.”

One of those defenders could include former Merrillville star JoJo Johnson, who is a freshman cornerback at Notre Dame. In September, Ireland coach Brian Kelly announced that Johnson needed surgery to repair a torn ACL.

The 6-foot-2, 215-pound Bowen is also unique in that while he wasn’t highly sought after by the Blue Bloods in football, they recruited him in baseball. Last spring was his first high school baseball season due to his freshman year being shut down by COVID-19, but he played summers with the Indiana Bulls program.

This first season was impressive. He played every position except receiver and hit .400 with a team-high 26 runs scored, 16 RBIs and 23 stolen bases.

Andrean’s legendary baseball coach, Dave Pishkur, produced several major leaguers, numerous college players and won seven state championships during his 41 years in charge of the 59ers. He praised Bowen’s baseball ability.

“As a sport, he can compete with any athlete I’ve ever had,” Pishkur told The Times in April. “There are things he has done better than others. He is respected by his teammates. I guess he’s probably respected by his opponents, I think if you read anything about him. He understands a lot of the game and has pretty good instincts which I like.

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Along with his father and brother, Bowen traveled about 4,700 miles when recruiting opened in June to visit campuses in the Midwest and Southeast. It reduced its list to 12 schools, then again to five in August. He then scheduled visits to Auburn, Clemson, LSU, Indiana and Notre Dame before narrowing his roster to three a few weeks ago.

“The main reason (for Notre Dame) was being away over the summer for so long, my brother and sister had grown close and I just couldn’t see them growing up, so it was a huge reason why I wanted to stay close to home and be able to watch them grow,” Bowen said.

He cherishes his time with his family, from his younger brother Dylan – affectionately nicknamed “Dilly Dilly” to close family members – accompanying him on trips to his sister Dallas’ house joining him for early morning gaming videos his dad posts. on Facebook.

“I know that (Dylan) looks up to me and kind of wants to be like me, and while he might not want to do the exact same things I do, that’s cool too,” Drayk Bowen told the Times in May. “…Deep down, my dad always set this example of hard work and that our (last) name means something. He taught me that when I was little, and it stuck with me.”

Recruiters were on Bowen early on due to his regimented training schedule. He had dreamed of playing in college and professionally for a long time and, at a young age, planned training, nutrition, studies and practice to reach this point.

“Yeah, it would be fun to be a normal kid,” Bowen told The Times in March. “But, I don’t want to be that normal kid. There’s nothing wrong with that, but I just want to pursue my dreams.

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Normal kids don’t study film and practice like Bowen, who said he sees himself as a hybrid player between Luke Keuchly and Bobby Wagner.

“I watch a ton of movies, so that’s one thing I admire about Luke Keuchly, he watched a ton to know what was happening before it happened,” Bowen said. “With Bobby Wagner, with his physique, I like being physical on the pitch, so that’s a trait I admire about him.

Bowen’s commitment gives Notre Dame the third-best recruiting class for the Class of 2023, by 247. The linebacker is the fifth-highest commitment in the Irish class and the first five-star. Notre Dame follows Oklahoma, leading with four five-stars, and Georgia, which has six commitments that are all four-stars.

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