01/07/18 — Football --Goldsboro's Bowden attends U.S. Army All-American Combine

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Football --Goldsboro's Bowden attends U.S. Army All-American Combine

By Justin Hayes
Published in Sports on January 7, 2018 3:05 AM

Show and prove.

Such has been the modus operandi of late for Goldsboro High tailback Xzavior Bowden, who capped a stellar junior campaign on the gridiron with an appearance this week at the highly-regarded U.S. Army All-American combine in San Antonio, Texas.

The event, a three-day extravaganza featuring blue-chip prospects from across the nation, was staged part and parcel at the Alamodome, formerly the home of the NBA's San Antonio Spurs.

Beginning in earnest on Friday, the metric-based affair ran players through a litany of performance-based exercises, including the 40-yard dash, three-cone shuttle, power pushup and vertical jump -- all with the goal of trying to get a head start on identifying the best of the best in the Class of 2019.

And yes, No. 12 felt right at home.

"I thought it was going to be a hard task, but then I was like... this is what I do, just focus -- so that's what I did," Bowden said by phone on Friday night.

Over a grueling span of drills upon drills upon drills, Bowden clocked a lasered 40-yard dash time of 4.73 seconds, fared well in vertical jump exercises and produced a shuttle time of 4.3 seconds --  a number set which stacks up as respectable when compared to performance tracking data available in the official 2017 combine results.

"I feel like I did alright (with regard to the 40-yard dash), but I know I need to get my speed up," Bowden said. "I want to be a consistent four-four."

The junior did, however, shine in pass-catching drills, snaring 14 of 16 balls thrown his way when matching up out of the backfield against many of next year's most sought-after linebackers. 

As stages go, it was more expansive and talent-rich than any he'd ever seen.

But as individual performance value goes, Bowden buckled down and acquitted himself nicely -- which left Goldsboro head coach Elvin James in a pensive, upbeat mood late Friday.

"I'm hoping that Xzavior gets the exposure from the combine he deserves," James said of his All-Area performer, who rushed for 2,105 yards and 27 touchdowns this past season. "I also hope that he sees the the competition that he has to compete against throughout the country... which will motivate him to work harder in the classroom, weightroom and on the football field... the only person who can stand in his way or keep him from being successful or achieving his dreams is Xzavior Bowden."

Which, at this point, given the young man's unique combination of physical tools, willingness to learn and tireless work ethic, doesn't seem very likely to happen.