University of Maine tight end Shawn Bowman. Credit: Courtesy of UMaine Athletics

Shawn Bowman is looking forward to Thursday night’s football game between the University of Maine and the University of Delaware at Alfond Stadium in Orono.

Bowman grew up in Bear, Delaware, 8 miles from the University of Delaware campus in Newark.

But he won’t be stepping onto the field to represent Delaware. Bowman is a junior tight end for the University of Maine.

The 6-foot-5, 243-pound Bowman, who was second on the team with nine receptions during the team’s four-game spring schedule, said the fact he will be facing his home state team — a team that wasn’t that interested him and one that beat his Black Bears 37-0 this past spring — will provide him with extra incentive.

“But we’ve prepared for them just like we would any other team,” Bowman said.

The Delaware coaching staff recruited him as a defensive end when he was in high school, but “it wasn’t anything really serious,” Bowman said.

“I was in a tough position. It was a couple of weeks before the [National Letter of Intent] signing day and there wasn’t much interest in me other than from Division II and III schools. But Maine flew down to my school, offered me a full scholarship, flew me up to Orono a few days later and it was everything I wanted in a college. It was a perfect fit for me.”

And it has worked out nicely all the way around.

Bowman averaged 9.1 yards per reception and had a touchdown catch in the four-game spring season. He matched a career high with five catches for 46 yards and a TD in a 35-19 win at Stony Brook.

In 2019, he was chosen to Phil Steele’s Freshman All-American second team after catching 22 passes for 219 yards and a touchdown in 11 games.

“He has done a really good job for them,” said Delaware coach Danny Rocco. “He has been really productive. … He is versatile and that really adds to his value.”

Bowman lines up in different positions and can run a variety of routes, long and short, while also serving as a valuable blocker.

Bowman also plays a part on UMaine special teams.

“He’s obviously important to our offense but also has a big part on our special teams,” said UMaine head coach Nick Charlton. “He plays a lot and has turned into a leader on our football team.”

Bowman has been happy with his career to date, but said, “I’m never satisfied. I’m always striving to get better. I’m always trying to find a way to be better than the [opponent].”

The Black Bears will have their hands full with a Delaware team that is ranked fifth in the country and has eight players who were selected to the All-CAA preseason team, including running back Dejoun Lee, the league’s Offensive Player of the Year this spring after he rushed for 564 yards on 120 carries and caught 16 passes for 119 yards.

Other players on the offensive side of the ball are quarterback Nolan Henderson (135-for-191 in passing for 1,482 yards and 10 touchdowns), wide receiver Thyrick Pitts (29 catches, 451 yards, 3 TDs) and tackle David Kroll. The selections on defense are end Chase McGowan (7.5 tackles for loss, 5 sacks), linebacker Johnny Buchanan (42 tackles), safety Kedrick Whitehead (31 tackles) and cornerback Nijuel Hill (25 tackles, 3 interceptions).

Delaware went 7-1 this spring and reached the Football Championship Subdivision semifinals where it lost to South Dakota State 33-3.

UMaine, which went 2-2 this spring, features quarterback Joe Fagnano (67-for-116, 795 yards, 8 TDs), wide receiver Andre Miller (21-348, 6 TDs) and running back Freddie Brock (5.7 yards per carry) on the offensive side of the ball with the defense being led by New Castle, Delaware, native Jamehl Wiley (27 tackles), Adrian Otero (25 tackles) and Khairi Manns (23 tackles, 3 tackles for loss).

Wiley and Manns are ends, and Otero is a linebacker.

Fagnano was a second team All-CAA selection last spring and Miller was a first-teamer. Miller was UMaine’s only preseason All-CAA choice.

UMaine has won seven of its last eight home openers, including its last four.

UMaine has won the last two meetings in Orono against Delaware, but the Blue Hens own a 25-11 series lead and have won the last two meetings.