Centrals Nigel Bowden has accomplished quite a bit in his time with the Chargers football program, but he is looking for more to do and more challenges to overtake.
He will do that in the SEC after signing with Vanderbilt on Wednesday. Teammate Boe Bailey also signed, and he will head to Albany State.
Both players will play linebacker in college.
My feelings are this is the best moment of my life, Bowden said. I mean, it cant get any better. All the people who have helped me all through my life are here for my signing day. Theres just more for me to accomplish, so much more.
Bowden said the combination of academics and the chance to play in the SEC led him to sign with the Commodores.
There is just so much about Vanderbilt, he said. Its the No. 17 school in the nation for education, and its an SEC school. Every year, I watched the linebackers improve every game. The education, a diverse community ... its the best of both worlds. On one side, you have the campus, and then you have a big city, which you fall in love with. I have never lived in a big city like that, and I want to experience that.
Playing in the SEC was a big role. I feel like competition will make you better. If competition is what you strive for, why not go to the SEC?
Bailey also is looking forward to that next step in competition. Albany State routinely has one of the best NCAA Division II teams in the country.
I made a real connection with the coaches and the players down there, Bailey said. They made me feel at home, and they made me feel like I belong down there. I cant wait to get down there and start playing.
While Central head coach Jesse Hicks is happy to see his players get the chance to move on to the next level, he said it will be difficult to fill the hole left by Bowden and Bailey. The Chargers went 2-8 in Hicks first season with the program.
They made my transition so much easier, and they have a great future in front of them, Hicks said of his two linebackers. Im extremely proud of them. The real problem is trying to replace them. But they have set a great foundation for our program, and they did so much for me and this team. Theyre not just great football players; theyre great people first.