VanDarius Cowan entered 2018 as one of the Alabama Crimson Tide‘s up-and-coming talents at linebacker. The former four-star prospect was expected to compete for significant playing time after logging playing time in seven games as a freshman.
However, video surfaced of Cowan allegedly assaulting a man at the High Tide Bar in Tuscaloosa earlier this year. Cowan, who was charged with third-degree assault, was promptly dismissed from Alabama’s football team.
His time in Alabama has ended, but the Palm Beach Gardens, Florida native has found a new home.
Cowan will transfer to West Virginia where he will sit out this season, but return for the 2019 season with three years of eligibility remaining.
Getting a full year to separate from this fight video to refocus, and get his body in shape, should help Cowan develop into one of West Virginia’s best defensive players when he becomes eligible.
At 6-foot-4 and 236 pounds, Cowan could play a few different spots in Dana Holgorsen‘s unique 3-3-5 defense, and having the full year to learn the scheme can only benefit Cowan’s development.
The Mountaineers struggled in the offensively rich Big 12 a season ago — WVU ranked dead last in the conference in rushing defense and red zone defense.
The 445.5 yards per game they allowed ranked 106th in the nation, too.
It’s safe to say that the addition of a former Alabama recruit will only help their cause.
In 2018, the Mountaineers have a Heisman Trophy candidate, senior quarterback Will Grier, leading WVU’s high-powered offense, but still lack consistent production from their defense, mostly due to a lack of depth.
According to 247 Sports, WVU hasn’t brought in a Top 25 recruiting class since 2009.
For reference, that was the year they signed Geno Smith.
Getting a commitment from Cowan to join WVU’s roster is huge for a program that’s falling behind the likes of Texas, Oklahoma, and TCU on the recruiting trail.
Should he continue to stay out of trouble, and realized that second chances don’t come around very often, Cowan can develop into one of the best players on WVU’s defense in 2019 and beyond.