HOOVER — Catching 17 passes as a true freshman is no small feat, especially for one in his first year as a wide receiver. But for Kentucky’s Lynn Bowden Jr., it was only the beginning.

Bowden, now a junior, followed that up with one of the greatest sophomore seasons in Kentucky history. His 67 catches, 765 receiving yards and five touchdowns all led the team, he was responsible for every kickoff return but one, and he was one of only five players in the 130-team FBS with multiple punts return touchdowns.

And he returned only five punts.

“As you saw last year, he had a few punt returns for (touchdowns), and he’s a great receiver,” senior guard Logan Stenberg said at SEC Media Days on Thursday. “If you get the ball in his hand, he is going to make somebody hurt.”

Bowden spent several years as a dual-threat quarterback in high school, but transitioning to wide receiver was a different kind of challenge. He said his past experience at quarterback can help receivers due to the knowledge of how routes develop, but there’s still a lot more to learn.

“I’d say the hardest part I had was just being on time for my quarterback,” Bowden said. “Being in the right places, route-running, knowing the route tree… I think being a quarterback helped me because I know I have to be on time.”

He was in the right place at the right time often last year for first-year starting quarterback Terry Wilson. Bowden said Thursday that Wilson is “probably going to be the best quarterback in the SEC this year” and has become a more dynamic passer.

The all-purpose weapon is working on perfecting deep passes with Wilson and refining his route-running on straighter routes. Still just in his third season ever as a wide receiver, Bowden’s versatility and raw talent point to a bright future in football – but one he’s not yet given much thought.

“I got one goal I set for myself: just give my son as much as I can,” Bowden said. “I don’t want him to grow up like I did. I want him to know that there’s things out there to look forward to and set your mind to.”