Havelock, NC — When it came time to make his college decision, relationships rose to the top of Michael Bowmans list of deciding factors.
It was his connection with recruiter Deke Adams and future position coach Steve Spurrier Jr. that put the Gamecocks at the top of Bowmans list and kept them there throughout his recruiting process.
The 6-foot, 195-pound Bowman announced a commitment to USC for the Class of 2015 during a Thursday morning ceremony at Havelock High.
The coaches made me feel like its home, he said. They made me feel like a son to them. They told me to work hard and keep my head up.
His brother, class of 2016 wide receiver and basketball prospect Kyran Bowman, committed to North Carolina during the same ceremony. It was time to reveal the news about their futures because their decisions were made, they said.
Michael Bowmans final choice was between USC and NC State. His brother decided between USC, North Carolina and East Carolina. The two mostly kept their recruiting processes separate.
We know no matter what, the decisions will stay the same, Michael Bowman said.
The older Bowman and future Gamecock already has two familiar faces on campus at South Carolina in receiver Pharoh Cooper and offensive lineman Corey Robinson. Both also went to Havelock High.
Coopers presence and influence played a role in Bowmans comfort level with the Gamecocks, Havelock coach Jim Bob Bryant said.
They did a really good job recruiting him, Bryant said. Michaels always wanted to play in the SEC. He really liked South Carolina when he went down there for a couple of games. He really felt at home.
Bowman is considered a four-star prospect by 247Sports and the No. 12 player in North Carolina. Last season he caught 52 passes for 972 yards and 11 touchdowns in helping his team win a third-straight state championship. The Rams plan to play him some at tailback as a senior.
Bowman in the weight room is the teams second-leading squatter at around 420 pounds, Bryant said.
Spurrier Jr. loved him when he saw him on tape. Hes got big hands and hes physical, Bryant said. Hes probably the most physical wide receiver Ive ever coached. Smaller cornerbacks just cannot tackle him one-on-one, so we try to get him out in space and make smaller DBs make a tackle.
He is South Carolinas fifth pledge for the upcoming class and the first since Jacksonville (Fla.) linebacker Sherrod Pittman back in July.
Bowman revealed his choice when he placed a Gamecocks hat on his head during the event inside the Havelock library.
Its easy to make the decision because Ive been there a lot and been keeping in touch with coaches, he said. They make me feel like I could be a big part of the team.
USC's in-progress Class of 2015
1. Dexter Neal, wide receiver, Stone Mountain, Ga. (commited May 16)
2. Shameik Blackshear, defensive end, Bluffton, SC (committed May 21)
3. Jerad Washington, wide receiver, Jacksonville, Fla. (committed July 28)
4. Sherrod Pittman, linebacker, Jacksonville, Fla. (committed July 29)
5. Michael Bowman, wide receiver, Havelock, NC (committed March 20)