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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Family Focus: Amee Bowen In-Depth on the Recruiting Process with Sons Eli, Peyton

July 21, 2022

The world of college football recruiting never has a dull moment. 

When you’re the mother of two sons with multiple Power Five offers? Well, it can be unrelentingly hectic between camps, practice, recruiting trips and everyday life. 

Amee Bowen spoke with Irish Sports Daily in full transparency to discuss her sons as 2023 safety Peyton Bowen‍ is a Notre Dame commit and 2024 cornerback Eli Bowen‍ is being recruited by some of the top programs in the country, including the Fighting Irish. 

Her invaluable insight follows in this exclusive question-and-answer session with ISD. 

Q: What was the last trip back to Notre Dame for Peyton's official like for him and your family? 

Amee Bowen: I like the bond they all have. It shows when other recruits come and you see them all together. They act like they've known each other forever and all of them just met three or four months ago. It was really good to see that. Overall, it was a really good visit. 

You can see changes since (Marcus) Freeman has taken over. It's different because when we were there when Brian Kelly was there, you only saw him in your meeting with him. Since Freeman has been the coach, he's around a lot and that was a big difference.

Q: As a parent, does it surprise you that all these kids from all over the country are able to relate so well to each other so quickly? 

Amee Bowen: Yeah. When we go to other schools, that's what I look at. I look at the kids other schools are recruiting. Can I see my kid hanging out in the locker room? Would I want this kid coming over for dinner at my house? Would my kid hang out with them at their school? I want somewhere he's going to go and still feel at home and have friends. 

All these kids at Notre Dame are so like-minded. I got that feeling when we were there for the North Carolina game. That's the main time I've talked to a lot of the players. It was the same thing when you met current players. We met Kyle Hamilton. Those are kids your kid would hang out with. 

I also got to meet a lot of the parents on that visit. We have the same kind of group chat going. It's all the moms of the committed 2023 players. Every time a new recruit commits, it's like, ‘Hey, here's Mrs. Greathouse.’

It's funny because it turns into finding out what games we are planning to go to or if we can all get to the same one. It's pretty cool.

Q: It seems there is a new rumor about Peyton's recruitment every day. How are you guys as a family balancing that part of his recruitment? 

Amee Bowen: We kind of bring it on ourselves by going on these visits, but even when you look at his visits to Alabama and LSU when we went on a road trip, Eli was with him and Eli has an offer from LSU. It was really Eli that scheduled that. The visit to Alabama, Peyton scheduled, but the kid that was with him is a huge Alabama fan. They're going on some of these visits, but it's not always for Peyton at that time. 

Oklahoma, Eli got offered and that's why we went up there on April 1st because he was getting an offer. People don't know that. It's different. 

We put ourselves in that, but it can get overwhelming at times when you're on Social Media more seeing it. I think he's overwhelmed, too. He has to be careful because he has a little brother. 

If you talk about going next weekend to Texas A&M - we don't have any plans to go next weekend. If Eli wants to go, we'll be there and any of the visits in the fall. Is Peyton going to be going somewhere in the fall? Probably, because he's not going to stay home if his brother goes somewhere.

Q: Thoughts on this week's rumor that Peyton could flip to Oklahoma?

Amee Bowen: The part of this recruitment with Peyton is I saw his face light up when he went to Notre Dame. I know distance is a huge thing for his 'Midwest family' per se and to travel all the time. I know he looks at that, but when I talk to him, it never sways from him saying 'us' or when he talks about the present or future, it's always Notre Dame. 

He doesn't always say the name, but he says, 'We're going to get him' or 'He's going to play for us,' or when we're talking about going on vacations, it's always Notre Dame.

I don't have anything new to say that it would change. I don't know what's blown up recently that would make the change. I mean, Jackson Arnold (2023 Oklahoma commit and Peyton's teammate) pushes for Oklahoma and good for him. 

When Peyton was going to commit to Notre Dame, he wanted Jackson to come to Notre Dame. I get the pressure of it, but there isn't anything new except for Jackson wanting him to come, which I don't read as change. 

I don't get what happened. He had a good camp, turned into a five-star and Twitter blew up.

Q: Some schools have recruited Eli to get to Peyton and then there are programs recruiting Eli for Eli. How are you guys working through that to put him in the best situation? 

Amee Bowen: It is hard because even when people reach out to me, I have to take a minute to figure out which kid they are calling about. When they ask 'Are they coming?' or ‘Can we get Eli here?’ or ‘Can we get your boys here?’ - I'm like, ‘Who are you wanting? Are you wanting both of them to come? Are you wanting Peyton to come, or are you wanting Eli to come?’ 

I have to ask. I hope they are transparent, but they aren't always like that. Some of them are handling it really well. Oklahoma is handling it like that. They've said the same thing Notre Dame has said, 'We're offering because of Eli.' 

I think Eli gravitates to some of them where it's just him. He's also asked me if I don't like a school for Peyton, would I be OK if I go to that school. I want him to go where it's best for him. Do I have feelings on certain schools? Yeah. I have feelings on certain schools for each of them. 

I saw Peyton's face light up when he was at Notre Dame. Eli had it the very first time he was there, but when he goes there, he doesn't really make it about him. 

That's what's hard, too. Eli goes on these visits to schools, but I think Eli doesn't always feel like it's about him. Peyton can go and bring Eli and they'll talk to him and everything else, but when you look back at it, it is a little bit different. There will probably be times he visits schools without Peyton just so he can feel it for himself.

Q: What do you think of Notre Dame safeties coach Chris O'Leary when it comes to relating to Peyton and your family? And how did he communicate offering another 2023 safety as it seems Caleb Downs is headed elsewhere? 

Amee Bown: I like Coach O'Leary. He's a character. He's always been open and upfront with wanting Peyton. He's not going to stop or quit recruiting him. He's made it clear even if something happened, he would still push and try to get Peyton until Signing Day. 

He's knowledgeable about where he sees Peyton. I think Peyton has always gravitated toward that. 

Peyton knew about the new safety offer and knew it was coming. Notre Dame was very upfront with him about it coming. 

Q: The NIL world is crazy. How are you guys prioritizing that and your thoughts on NIL?

Amee Bowen: I think it's hard. It's changed your perspective on school. You used to think my kid is going off and have college paid for and that was the ultimate and the next step into making it. Now you're looking at where they can build their brand per se. 

Every school is doing it differently. Some want to give money upfront or once you get there - it's overwhelming and I don't understand it enough. 

When people say the quarterback from Tennessee is getting millions of dollars - I don't get it enough to know if it's legal or if he is really getting that money or if it's being promised over the time he's there. I don't understand the legalities of it. 

You do look at what a school can offer your kid outside of football, while it used to be the education. Notre Dame has the education, but now you have to look at education, NIL, playing time and everything else. You have to look at it all. 

Peyton has always said if he goes and plays, then all of that will take care of itself because you earned NIL money. You'll get the sponsorships and all of that. He even looks at it from the longevity part of it and not so much taking this much money to play here. 

It's a different world right now.  

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