Nearly three years after he was on the market as the nation’s No. 3 overall recruit, Byron Cowart once again found himself looking for a new home after leaving Auburn earlier this fall. Back in 2015, Maryland was one of his finalists. This time, College Park is his destination.
Maryland announced the signing Wednesday morning, while thousands of high school recruits were making their college decisions for the first time. He’s been tabbed a three-star junior college recruit, per 247Sports, but the importance of his commitment cannot be overstated. Perhaps most importantly, he’ll be eligible immediately and will have two years of eligibility remaining.
Maryland’s defensive line ranked 118th in adjusted line yards and 121st in adjusted sack rate last season, meaning the defensive line specifically was both responsible for giving up a lot of rushing yards and not getting to the quarterback. The unit will see plenty of fresh faces in 2018. While Jesse Aniebonam’s status for next season is still up in the air, Kingsley Opara, Cavon Walker, Chandler Burkett and Andrew Isaacs are graduating.
At 6’4, 270 pounds, Cowart will bring some much-needed size, and presumably remarkable talent, to the defensive end position. He did, however, leave Auburn at least in part because he had a hard time earning playing time. On one of the best defenses in the country, there’s no shame in that, but it’s not something one would expect from the former No. 3 overall recruit.
The bright side is that Cowart doesn’t need to be “former No. 3 prospect” good at Maryland. He can be, and nobody would complain, but if he can provide any kind of improvement over what the Terps fielded last year, this will be a successful move.
This story has been updated to reflect Cowart’s standing as a junior college recruit.