What everyone expected is finally happening for Clemson's Da'Quan Bowers.
Rivals rated Bowers as the second-best player in America in 2008, just behind Ohio State recruit Terrelle Pryor.
Much was expected of Bowers as he entered college a man-sized 6-foot-4, 267 pounds. But in his first two years with Clemson, Bowers was never able to put it all together. He was often close in 2009 to becoming a force of a player. A knee injury that essentially knocked him out of three games slowed his progress, though.
Now, as a 280-pound junior, he's become a star and a possible top 10 pick in the NFL Draft.
His 12.5 sacks is just behind the school's record for a season set by Gaines Adams in 2006. In addition, Bowers has 20 tackles for a loss. His sack total is the most in the nation by three.
As a prospect, Bowers is wildly intriguing. Not a lot of true defensive end prospects have his blend of strength, size and quickness. Make no mistake, he's the kind of 4-3 end that a team can plug in for years to get pressure on the quarterback. Bowers can also shift inside in nickel situations and is strong and instinctual enough to handle draws.
The most obvious comparison for Bowers is former New York Giants end Michael Strahan. Bowers isn't quite as boisterous as Strahan, but he's similar in playing style. Bowers has a good burst off the snap and can turn that burst into power.
His main move is a straight forward bull rush with a rip, just like Strahan. You might not get a lot of double moves or spins out of Bowers, but he doesn't need them.
The biggest knock on Bowers is that he can be a little inconsistent. He has nine of his sacks in four games and was largely a non-factor against Boston College. But when Bowers is on, he's dangerous.
Even more dangerous is that he's just getting better.