SOMERVILLE, NJ – Standout Immaculata High School football player Tashawn Bower has played himself onto the opening day roster of the Minnesota Vikings after a four-year collegiate career at defensive end for perennial powerhouse LSU.
Bower, Class of 2013, becomes the second graduate of Immaculata to make it to the NFL. Theo Riddick, Class of 2009, is the featured running back for the Detroit Lions.
The two teams, fierce rivals in the rough-and-tumble NFC North Division, face off Oct. 1 in Minnesota.
Looking ahead, the traditional NFL Thanksgiving Day game, broadcast nationwide on Nov. 23, will take on added significance in Somerville, as the Lions will be hosting the Vikings in Detroit, with Bower on defense and Riddick on offense.
Despite a stellar collegiate career, Bower was not drafted by any NFL team, and signed with the Vikings as a free agent.
Bower, who wears the purple-and-gold Viking jersey No. 64, is listed third on the Vikings’ depth chart at right defensive end behind starter Everson Griffen and Stephen Weatherly.
The 6’5’’ 250-pound lineman was heavily recruited by several high-profile national programs in his junior and senior years at Immaculata; he narrowed his choices to Florida and Auburn before selecting LSU.
Bower and Riddick both played for Immaculata Coach Pierce Frauenheim.
The 22-year-old finished his senior season at Immaculata with 95 total tackles, 16 tackles for losses, 11 sacks, seven pass breakups and three forced fumbles. He was rated a four-star recruit by ESPN.com, and ranked as the No. 11 best defensive end in the nation and the No. 4 prospect in New Jersey by ESPN.
ESPN.com’s top 150 listed Bower as the No. 132 prospect in the nation.
Bower was a four-year starter at LSU, playing 40 games, with 7 starts in the 2015 and 2016 seasons; he finished off his senior year in spectacular fashion against the Louisville Cardinals, with 3 sacks against Heisman Trophy quarterback Lamar Jackson.
Bower’s family lives in Livingston.