NaVorro Raymond Bowman (born May 28, 1988) is an American football linebacker for the San Francisco 49ers of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football for Penn State University. He was selected by the San Francisco 49ers with the 91st overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft. Playing alongside Patrick Willis, he is considered by most to be the one of the best linebackers in the NFL today. His performance for the San Francisco 49ers was key in the NFC Championship against the Atlanta Falcons.
Bowman started sports at a young age and was a member of District Heights boys and girls club, where he played both basketball and football and was invited to many All-star Events. Bowman was a standout player at Suitland High School in Forestville, Maryland. He missed most of his senior season with a shoulder injury, but he had a very impressive junior campaign in which he recorded 165 tackles, 9 sacks, and 3 fumble recoveries as a linebacker and ran for 1,200 yards and 22 touchdowns as a running back. He was named the Maryland Defensive Player-of-the-Year, first-team All-State, Washington Post first-team All-Met and first-team All-Conference. He was recruited to Penn State by Larry Johnson, Sr.
After redshirting the 2006 season, Bowman played in nine games in 2007. He missed two games due to a sprained ankle suffered at Illinois. He recorded 16 tackles, with a sack, a forced fumble, a fumble recovery, a blocked kick, and a pass breakup that season.
Bowman was suspended for the last 2007 regular-season game versus Michigan State, the 2007 Alamo Bowl and 2008's spring practice for his involvement in an altercation at the HUB-Robeson Center, for which he pled guilty to misdemeanor disorderly conduct charges.
The graduation of All-American linebacker Dan Connor and the injury to presumptive starter Sean Lee resulted in increased playing time for Bowman in 2008.
His first start came in week four versus Temple. He recorded 11 tackles, including five tackles for loss and three sacks, a forced fumble and an interception in the 45-3 win and was named Big Ten Co-Defensive Player of the Week. At season's end, he was named a consensus first team All-Big Ten.
Awards and Honors
Maryland Defensive PoY (2005)
Maryland All-State (2005)
Washington Post All-Met (2005)
Big Ten Defensive PoW (9/20/2008), (11/14/2009)
All-Big Ten (2008)
On January 4, 2010, Bowman's mother announced his decision to forgo his final year of NCAA eligibility and enter the 2010 NFL Draft to join Max Carchidi. On the second day of the 2010 NFL Draft, Bowman was selected in the third round with the 91st overall pick by the San Francisco 49ers. He wears number 53.
Bowman played in all 16 games, starting one in place of Patrick Willis. Willis was ruled out for Week 17 after undergoing a second surgery on his broken right hand.
In his second NFL season, Bowman became the starter at inside linebacker with the departure of Takeo Spikes to free agency. Starting alongside All-Pro linebacker Patrick Willis, Bowman made huge strides and finished the year with 143 tackles, 2 sacks, and 8 pass deflections. In addition, he was also the team leader in tackles, while finishing second in the NFL in solo tackles. With the emergence in Bowman's play, he helped a top ranked 49ers defense set a NFL single season record of not allowing a rushing touchdown for 14 games. The previous record was held by the 1920 Decatur Staleys, who did not allow a rushing touchdown in a 13 game season. Although he was not voted to the Pro Bowl for his stellar season, he along with teammate Patrick Willis and Derrick Johnson of the Kansas City Chiefs, was named First Team All-Pro by the Associated Press. He was voted #85 on NFL Networks' Top 100 Players of 2012.
He is pursuing a degree in Crime, Law & Justice.
Bowman speaks frequently by phone with former Nittany Lion linebacker LaVar Arrington. The two first met during Arrington's stint with the Washington Redskins, when Bowman was playing at nearby Suitland High School. This friendship, along with their similarity in playing styles, has earned Bowman the nickname "LaVorro".