The defensive lineman plans to redshirt his freshman season

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Skylar Bowman felt like he was home.

That was one of the reason's why Bowman, a three-year, two-way starter at South Western, committed to play football at the University of Maine Sunday. The senior made his decision after receiving an offer from the school two weeks ago.

Although Bowman is a Pennsylvania native and was recruited by a number of in-state schools, he said the campus environment at Maine suited him perfectly.

"It's a rural area, which is what I like," Bowman said. "There's a river that runs right by the campus, and it's surrounded by woods. I like to fish and it just felt like home to me."

Fishing aside, there were plenty of other reasons why the South Western senior chose Maine. For starters, he believed it was his best chance to play at a high-level program and still compete for playing time.

The Black Bears compete in the Colonial Athletic Association (CAA) in the Division I Football Championship Subdivision. Bowman received offers from a number of Division II schools including East Stroudsburg, Shippensburg and West Chester. Penn State offered him a preferred walk-on spot, but he said none of those schools "felt like the right fit."

Bowman began considering Maine in July, when a couple coaches from the Black Bears approached him at a Temple University football camp he was attending. As talks progressed over the next few months, Bowman said he "kind of thought" the school would give him an offer.

One other school that intrigued Bowman was East Stroudsburg, where his older brother Logan plays safety. But while Bowman said he asked Logan for advice throughout the recruitment process, he ultimately decided not to become teammates with his brother a second time.

"The last time I was teammates with my brother was when I was a sophomore and he was a senior (at South Western) and I really enjoyed it," Bowman said. "Nothing against East Stroudsburg, but I wanted to go to a different school and make my own path."

Bowman missed the majority of his junior season with an injury. He played both guard and defensive end at South Western, but he will focus on defense for the Black Bears. Bowman, who is 6-foot-4 and 268 pounds, said the coaching staff at Maine wants him to eventually bulk up to 290.

He also will likely redshirt his freshman season, a decision both he and South Western head coach Damian Poalucci fully support. Just 17 years old, Bowman will benefit from having an extra year of preparation, according to Poalucci.

"You really want a kid like him to have a year to learn and grow and (Maine) has some seniors he can sit behind and learn," Poalucci said. "I like Maine's defensive coaching staff. They like speed, size and aggressiveness and they'll be great for Skylar."

Bowman is still undecided on his major but said he's considering criminal justice. He plans to train at Maine for a few weeks in July before camp officially starts at the end of August.

"I'm actually really excited and ready to get going," Bowman said. "They guys I've talked to are a good group of guys, and I'm looking forward to playing with them."

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