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Ex-Valley star Bowden to enter draft

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Kentucky quarterback and former Mahoning Valley high school football star Lynn Bowden said on Twitter that “now is my time” to enter the NFL Draft and noted he will make that move after the Wildcats face Virginia Tech in the Belk Bowl.

Bowden starred at Liberty High School as a freshman and sophomore and helped the Leopards to the playoffs each season. He then transferred to Warren G. Harding as an upperclassman and led the Raiders to a pair of playoff appearances, reaching the regional final as a senior.

The former Trumbull County Player of the Year made the announcement in a 1-minute, 45-second video of highlights posted on his verified Twitter account. A Kentucky football spokeswoman confirmed that Bowden will declare for the draft.

“This is a moment I have dreamed of for a long time, but there is no way I could have gotten here without a lot of people,” said Bowden in the video before thanking family, coaches, fans and teammates. “… I couldn’t ask for a better set of teammates. You guys are my brothers. To our fans, the big blue nation, you took a kid from Youngstown, Ohio, and helped me become a man. For that, this place is my forever home.

“It won’t be easy to leave that, but now is my time to enter the 2020 NFL Draft.”

The 6-foot-1, 206-pound junior began the year at wide receiver and kick/punt returner before moving at midseason to quarterback because of injuries to two Kentucky starters. A former high school quarterback at both Liberty and Harding, Bowden rushed for a single-season school record 1,136 yards in seven games as the Wildcats QB and 1,235 overall with 11 touchdowns.

He also led Kentucky in receiving with 348 yards and a TD on 30 catches. The Youngstown native was named to The Associated Press’ All-Southeastern Conference first team as an all-purpose player on Monday. His versatility was one the main reasons Kentucky coach Mark Stoops, also a Youngstown native, and the Wildcats are headed to a fourth-straight bowl game, one Bowden said he will play in on New Year’s Eve.

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