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UK’s playmaker receiver Lynn Bowden is all business in fall workouts

Kentucky receiver Lynn Bowden, left, shares a laugh with teammate Akeem Hayes, right, during media day earlier this month at Kroger Field. (Kentucky Today/Keith Taylor)

By Keith Taylor
Kentucky Today

Lynn Bowden was relaxed and cutting up with his teammates during media day earlier this month, but that doesn’t mean he’s taking a laid-back approach going into his sophomore season with the Wildcats.

“It’s all business, no more laughs and we’re going full speed (ahead),” he said.

Last year was a learning curve for the former standout quarterback, who transitioned into a wide receiver during his first full season with the Wildcats. Bowden also took some snaps under center, was a kickoff and punt returner.

A noted speedster, Bowden had to adjust to playing in the Southeastern Conference.

“(The speed of the game) surprised me and I’m fast, but everybody in the league is fast, literally,” he said. “Everybody is fast.”

Bowden appeared in all 13 games last season and caught 17 passes for 210 yards. He set a school record for most kickoff returns for a freshman with 37, including seven returns against Louisville and most kickoff yards for a season with 869 yards. A former quarterback, Bowden collected 192 all-purpose yards against Vanderbilt, including a 93-yard kickoff return against the Commodores.

Although he made the adjustment from high school to college without getting overwhelmed, Bowden learned to take his time more, especially when it came to learning the offense.

“I’ve got to be patient,” he said. “I really wasn’t patient (last year). This is a much faster league than I’ve ever played in, so I’ve got to work hard.”

An obvious playmaker, who has been often compared to former Kentucky receiver Randall Cobb, Bowden is focused on becoming a better player within in his own abilities.

“It’s bigger than me and I’m excited to perform as much as I can and open up things for the rest (of my teammates) on offense,” he said. “I’m working on me, right now, being the best version that Lynn can be for Kentucky football.”

Kentucky lost five of its last seven games last year and Bowden said the Wildcats are eager to end the season on a better note this time around. He’s more concerned about team goals rather than personal achievements on the field.

“We want to win more games than we did last year,” he said. “(Last year’s finish) was unacceptable. I don’t have any self-centered goals. I’m a team player. I put myself last. (I want to be) an explosive player and a great teammate.”

Bowden isn’t in the race to replace two-year starter Stephen Johnson but knows junior college transfer Terry Wilson and Gunnar Hoak are more than capable of picking up where Johnson left off last season.

“They’re (both) good or they wouldn’t be here and (help) us win the SEC,” he said. “They have the best confidence in the world. Obviously, they’re here for a reason and in camp show who deserves (the starting job).”

Gametracker: Central Michigan at Kentucky, 3:30 p.m., Sept. 1. TV/Radio: ESPNU, 98.1 FM WBUL.

Keith Taylor is sports editor for Kentucky Today. Reach him at keith.taylor@kentuckytoday.com or twitter @keithtaylor21.

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