Bowman playing for Legrand

David Bowman

DOVER — Growing up in Milford in the mid-to-late 2000s, David Bowman wanted to be Brandon Legrand.

So did a lot of kids in Milford. Legrand was scoring touchdowns and breaking records at Milford High.

Bowman looked to follow in Legrand’s footsteps. But when Bowman met him and became workout partners, Legrand told Bowman don’t stop there.

“He told me he wanted me to break his records,” Bowman recalls. “He told me, ‘I don’t want you to be me, I want you to be better than me.’ He always told me to carry that with me, even to the next level.”

When the 28-year-old Legrand died earlier this summer in a motorcycle accident, the news hit Bowman hard.

The current sophomore on the Delaware State University football team said he’ll honor Legrand’s memory with his play this season.

Bowman is moving to running back this season after playing 10 games for Delaware State as a defensive back as a freshman in 2018. The switch returns Bowman to the position where he did indeed break all of Legrand’s records at Milford.

Legrand helped lift Milford to the 2008 Division II state title. He was the Buccaneers’ all-time leading rusher and scorer until Bowman came along. Bowman broke Legrand’s records for most touchdowns, most rushing yards and total yards for scrimmage under Legrand’s tutelage.

“He was the man in Milford,” Bowman said. “I remember being at the game when they won in 2008. He was a big part in my life when I was in high school. Other than my family, he was the one that I looked up to. He motivated me a lot. Now that he’s gone, that’s even more motivation for me this year.”

Bowman also set the Milford record for career tackles on his way to being named the 2017 Delaware Defensive Player of the Year as he led Milford back to the state title game for the first time since 2008.

Those defensive skills earned him a starting job in the Delaware State secondary as a true freshman. Bowman finished fifth on the Hornets with 49 tackles, had one interception and led the team with 12 passes broken up.

But with some losses in the backfield due to graduation and some additions in the secondary, the DSU coaching staff decided Bowman would be best suited as a running back this year.

“I’m still getting back adjusted to it but it shouldn’t take long, I’ve been doing it all my life,” Bowman said. “I was shocked they asked me, but at the same time I was happy that I’m going back to my regular position.”

The Hornets graduated leading rusher Brycen Alleyne who rushed for 646 yards and five touchdowns as a senior in 2018.

Bowman has a similar build to Alleyne — they’re both listed as 5-foot-6 on Delaware State’s official roster.

“Brycen did his thing,” Bowman said. “I always believe size doesn’t mean a thing. If you got heart and you can do your job, then you can give good production on the field.”

The willingness to change his position also highlights what Bowman spoke about with coach Rod Milstead when he was recruited.

Bowman was part of Milstead’s first ever recruiting class to DSU as the Hornets attempt to climb out of a half-decade rut of finishing at the bottom of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference.

They made progress last season with a 3-8 season — the three wins equaled DSU’s combined win totals from the past three seasons prior. Helping to turn around a program is exactly what Bowman did in high school too.

“When coach Milstead recruited me he asked if I was willing to be part of something to make the program get better,” Bowman said. “I told him of course, because I did the same thing at Milford. When I first started at Milford, we were 1-9. I want to be part of the group that brings the program back up to par.”

Reach staff writer Tim Mastro at tmastro@newszap.com

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