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August 3, 2004Mississippi State brought in commitment No. 4 of the season last week when Gilmer, Texas, athlete Tay Bowser decided to don the Maroon and White. At first glance, his numbers may seem unbelievable. Most 6-foot-4 athletes just don't run sub 4.5-second 40-yard dashes, but Gilmer coach Jeff Traylor said every bit of what Tay had confirmed earlier was true.
"He's a big old 6-4, 175 pound cornerback and wide receiver," Coach Traylor commented without hesitation. "He high jumps 6-foot-7 and runs a 4.4 forty. He is tremendously talented and he will have a huge senior year."
While he is capable of playing several positions, MSU wants Bowser to play the unlikely position of cornerback. It may only be a matter of time before he is utilized elsewhere, however.
"There aren't many 6-foot-4 cornerbacks, but that is what Mississippi State wants him to be," Coach Traylor explained. "That's what Mississippi State wants him for and he is excited about doing it for them. He will play both ways for us though.
"That's what he is being recruited as, but when he gets there it will be a big decision because they will find out how good a receiver he is too.
"He can burn. He can do it. As far as his size there are not many kids that can run and jump like he can."
Many wonder how a kid like this could fly under many coaches' radar screen, but the answer is simple, according to his coach. Tay developed late, and is just now beginning to show what he is capable of.
"I think his biggest strength is that he was a kid that grew late," Coach Traylor said. "He was kind of small when he was young, so he really wants to be good. He is very hungry and very coachable.
"He doesn't realize how good he is, and he has no idea how great he can be."
One particular aspect of Bowsers' late development may lead him to the offensive side of the ball at the next level.
"He has great hands," his coach commented. "He never has had great hands, but they came on late last year, then through this summer, and right now he is really catching the ball great. He has just always been a weak kid and he is a late developer. He has gotten strong finally and he will get stronger when he goes down there, but he has really come on with hand strength."
While Tay may have been a relative unknown going into this season, he will have his chance to shine as a senior, with basically an entirely new team.
"We had had a great team last year, and we rotated probably 22 kids on defense, but he played as much as anybody else did," Coach Traylor said, but added that things would be different this fall. "We lost 28 starters and 18 seniors so he is going to be out there everywhere. He will start and play both ways.
"We hope he catches 60 balls and intercepts about eight. That's what we hope."
When it came time to make a final decision, there was no doubt in Tay's mind where he wanted to go. Or where his coach wanted him to go.
"He is very excited about playing for Coach Croom, because he is such a good man," Coach Traylor concluded. "I am excited that I've got a kid that is going to play for somebody that is as good a person as he is."
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