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Notre Dame Football Recruiting

Parent Perspective | Inside A Marcus Freeman In-Home Visit

December 12, 2022

Notre Dame football commit Drayk Bowen‍ and his family are far from strangers to Irish head coach Marcus Freeman. 

In fact, the Bowens might know the head coach better than any family in the 2023 recruiting class as the 6-foot-2, 233-pounder was a constant presence on campus over the last year and was made an early priority by Freeman when he arrived in January of 2021. 

Yet on Sunday night, the Bowen family experienced a first as Freeman made the trip over to Merrillville (Ind.) for an in-home visit and once again saw the same man that secured a commitment from the Andrean star over a year ago. 

“It really just feels like family,” stated Jeremy Bowen, the father of the four-star prospect. “He knocked on our front door and it was cool to see Coach Freeman when the door opened because we’ve always gone to South Bend. Drayk wanted to be out there, talk to the recruits and Notre Dame wants him there.”

While it might be a little overwhelming to have any head coach in your living room, Freeman fit naturally within the Bowen household. 

“It’s like Coach Freeman and Drayk are already family because we’ve been around him for so long,” explained Mr. Bowen. “He walks in and says, ‘What’s up Drizzy’ and goes over and picks up Krew. The family members we had over who had never met him were sending me text messages about how he was so genuine and there was nothing fake about him.” 

Irish Sports Daily
Marcus Freeman and Krew Bowen

That genuineness has Notre Dame sitting with the No. 3 recruiting class in the country as the early signing period is less than two weeks away. 

For Bowen, the ability to sit back and watch Freeman interact with his son might have been the highlight of the night. 

“It’s just genuine,” stated Mr. Bowen. “Everything about it. Drayk has respect for him as a coach, but they were sitting at the table eating and talking about football or life. There was no need for me to be around or babysit it. We kept living our life with Coach Freeman in it.” 

In a day where prospects are demanding money or benefits, Bowen firmly believes you can’t put a price on a real relationship. 

“It’s something money can’t buy,” said Mr. Bowen. “To know your son is going to play for somebody who looks at him as a piece of the puzzle to build something great, but he’s also there to help mold him into a great man.” 

Notre Dame’s culture has often been compared to Clemson as it’s driven by a family atmosphere and it’s something Bowen noticed looking back on their recruiting trips. And as a father, It’s further confirmation his son will be in good hands as Bowen will enroll early. 

“I told Coach (Chansi) Stuckey when we were on our official visit that I love Dabo (Swinney) and Coach (Brent) Venables,” Mr. Bowen stated. “I feel Notre Dame is like the new Clemson. It’s a bunch of young dads raising kids, moms around the program and you feel loved. It’s one big family and again, it’s genuine and real. You’re not being swayed and they don’t go crazy with you. 

“It’s literally building the program around family in order to create an environment to accomplish something great at a university that’s amazing. Money can’t buy that.” 

Irish Sports Daily
Marcus Freeman with the Bowen Family

Another highlight for Bowen as a father was seeing how Freeman interacted with his other kids. Dylan is a freshman baseball and football player at Hanover Central and Dallas is a sixth-grade volleyball star. Oh, and of course, there is Krew, who is 10 months old. 

“It was awesome because they have been part of everything we do,” Mr. Bowen explained. “They’ve gone to South Bend with Drayk. When Dallas walked down the stairs, Coach Freeman was like, ‘What’s up girl?’ She walks over and gives him a hug. Dylan walks over and shakes his hand. 

“He’s a big polarizing figured because he’s the head coach at Notre Dame, but when he interacts with people, his humility and the way he speaks to them is something you can’t fake. If you walked into our house and you didn’t know it was Coach Freeman, you would think he was another friend at the house. They see Coach Freeman come over and know Drayk did it, so they know it’s all possible.” 

And no, burnt ends weren’t on the menu on Sunday night. The Bowens had a nice Italian spread for Freeman. 

“We had lasagna, rice balls, salad, penne alfredo and chicken piccata,” laughed Mr. Bowen. “Of course, we had some pizza too.” 

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