Cowart feels Gators are headed in right direction

Byron Cowart made a return trip to Florida on Saturday after visiting for the Idaho game. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

Five-star defensive end Byron Cowart offered good and bad news for Florida fans after Saturday’s season opener.

Bad news first. He’s not committing to the Gators — or any team — this month, as he has pushed back decision date from Sept. 28 to the Under Armour All-America Game in January.

“I just want to wait,” said Cowart, who was expected to pick UF. “It’s (about) stability. I need to see who is going to be here (at Florida) and who’s not. Coach (Will) Muschamp doesn’t pressure me, he already knows. He told me I need to wait.”

Now the good news: Cowart loved what he saw from the Gators in their 65-0 win over Eastern Michigan.

“It was good to see that, and I would say they are going in the right direction,” he said. “I’m a Florida fan, so I want them to get back to when they had Percy Harvin, (Tim) Tebow and all those guys.

“I wanted to see that offense. … It was looking good with the spread. It’s great because over the season people are going to get in a rhythm, they’re going to get comfortable and they’re going to know their tendencies. I knew the defense was going to ball out, but it was good to get a good look at the offense.”

The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder still spent time watching Dante Fowler Jr. and Alex McCalister play the Buck position.

“(Fowler) was standing up, getting double teamed and still working,” Cowart said. “He was everywhere on the field. I like him. I was watching No. 14, too. He’s a long guy and they like him in space. It’s hard to get outside of him.

“I would basically play the same position as Dante. He will probably go to the league (this year). If I come here and do what I’m supposed to do, I could be that guy like he is.”

Cowart is scheduled to take his first official to Maryland next weekend, and he wants to officially visit Alabama and Florida State when those schools play Florida. He has tentative plans to officially visit UF for the LSU game, and then his final trip will be to either Oregon or Vanderbilt.

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  1. Im feeling really good about Byron coming to UF. I think he wants to take all of his visits but ultimately I think he, Cece, and Ryan all choose the Gators. Glad he had a good visit. He seems like a very mature young man. GO GATORS!!

  2. I think it’s probably good news for UF that Cowart is postponing his decision. I always thought that it was a danger sign when he said he was announcing September 28 because the only opportunity before then for UF to show improvement on the field was against Alabama, a game that UF will be a heavy underdog. I think he is a lock for UF if the current coaching staff is retained. UF probably still has a good chance with him even if a new coach is hired, I think it’ll still be tough to say no to the school he’s probably wanted to always go to. All the signs are there that he still wants to say yes to UF, it’s up to the current team to make UF an offer he can’t refuse.

  3. Love this young MAN, on the tape he does the Gator Chomp after a play. Hard to keep that secret, as well as Fowler is looking there is little doubt that he leaves for the NFL this year. He will be a first round draft pick, he maybe doubled a lot but the Gators are strong enough at other positions to give teams fit. Not to mention Fowler can pull the double team allowing for a linebacker or corner to blitz. Cowart will be a fan favorite at UF when word gets out to all the fans how much he loves the Gators.

  4. Dont want to be negative but i just hope this dont turn out being a situation where we look to be a shoe in all until that last minute where something happens and ends up inking with not only someone else but a fierce rival at that. Lets just hope Ce Ce keeps that strong influence because Ce Ce a gator..Public or not if on signing day we have a nice year and our coaching staff stays intact. If we dont sign Cece Jefferson that might be the greatest shock of the Muschamp era…

  5. I have a hard time believing Cowart is a Gator fan. No Gator fan would consider FSU…Gator fans don`t hesitate to play for the Gators…Hopefully, he just wants rival coaches to kiss his ass for a little bit….That`s the only alternative scenario I can imagine, considering how consistently we have been cranking out defensive talent for the NFL….

  6. Murks3ason,
    The world of talented 17 and 18 year old high schoolers with plentiful D1 offers and suitors, very rarely works the way you’ve described. Most will to some degree distance themselves from childhood favorites in order to ‘appear’ open and available to all programs they (based on their own reasoning) view as attractive. Most know where they want to go, but then LIFE steps in and something as simple as a girlfriend, illegal benefit/payment, winning trend , or uniform becomes the deal maker or breaker. Now there are some who know where they want to go, will announced it and turn a blind eye to all else out there – is that a good or bad thing? Either way, they are on a road less traveled. To each their own. In no way I am judging any of them; these are kids on their own paths in life. I’ve always endorsed dedicated parental/sponsor/high school coach involvement, multiple program visits/evaluation, and backup/transfer plans (just in case), then make a definitive decision…do all that, and LIFE will step in and do the rest. LUV UF!

  7. Jimbo’s pitch is that it is a business decision and is not about being a fan. Cowart is leaning strongly toward UF but would be up in the air if Muschamp’s staff were let go. I’d give UF a 90% w Muschamp and a 30% chance without him. I see his non September commitment as a slight negative because it means the opposition is framing his recruiting process a bit. At some point these guys have to jump on board to attract other top notch guys. The longer UF has to wait on him and Jefferson the less credibility they have versus the Bamas, FSUs and UGAs and the less talent that Cowart and Jefferson will ultimately have around them.

  8. I think Cowart delaying is a positive for Florida. Face it, no top guy from the state ids going to pick Florida until they beat a good team, something that won’t have happened for 665 days when the next chance happens on September 20. The put of state guys don’t have to put up with all their buddies laughing at them for choosing Florida. Cowart might change his mind about waiting if UF beats Alabama, that would be sign that the dumpster fire is extinguished. Campbell wouldn’t wait, at least Cowart, Ivey, and Jefferson are waiting, that’s a positive sign.

  9. I agree 100% with gatorade7. Muschamp got Roper and Roper has our offense where it should have been 3 years ago. Muschamp, with this hire, has fixed the root of our program’s problems and I thank him for his personal performance evaluation and subsequent adjustments. Players and the fan base are happy again…we will win and we will win NOW. I would guess Cowart has made his intentions to join UF known but also expressed reluctance and serious concern that the staff my be out should the wins not come rolling in (negative recruiting that we’ve given our competitors), and the response he got was ‘don’t commit…just watch us” Love Champ’s new confidence and LUV UF!

  10. I haven’t read the comments yet in case someone already touched on this but this Cowart delaying is NOT bad news at all. Committing early, especially for a high profile recruit, is only an opportunity for the other sharks to really start targeting you and for doubts to creep into your mind. It’s better that Cowart feels satisfied with the Gators later in the year than now — so he doesn’t grow bored with his satisfaction.

  11. Murks,

    Don’t be delusional man. The Pouncey twins were still considering FSU after saying they “bleed orange and blue”. For these kids it is not just about their fandom. It is about the rest of their life. To eliminate a school just because they are your football team’s rival is just not smart.

    With that being said, if you are objectively looking at FSU and the Gators, both are on par with their chances of getting kids into the NFL (especially on defense), Gators have a LOT more needs and chances of early playing time, and of course UF academics blow the decision out of the water.

    Alright James Fisher, waiting for your response. Please come up with some original trolling.

  12. I think it’s way overblown about ny program giving you a better chance to go to the NFL. You always hear the kids saying that this or that school putting guys into the league is one of the reasons they chose the school. That’s, mostly, nonsense. If you are a good enough player, the NFL will find you, it doesn’t matter if you’re at Podunk U. In fact, there’s an argument to be made that your chances of making it to the NFL might increase in some cases if you go to a school that is not loaded with NFL prospects. The reasoning for that is that you might never get an opportunity due to this or that future NFL player being already ensconced at your position. UCF is not a powerhouse, yet Blake Bortles was the first quarterback taken. I just think it’s not smart to choose a school because of anything to do with the NFL. First of all, the odds of you making it to the league are minuscule, and, if you’re good enough, the NFL will find you, I can promise you that.

  13. tJ I agree that UF has more needs and playing time opportunity, however the academic thing is a bunch of bull means nothing to these athletes. Why can’t gator nation see that. You guys hang your hat on thinking UF has superior academics and that it plays a part in recruiting. There is one instance that I remember a top flight recruit chose academics and it was Myron Rolle. And we all know where he chose.

  14. JF = Annoying Little Brother That Won’t Go Away Syndrome.

    FSUcks = Criminoles That Will Always Be Covered For.
    (if you are of low morals/character, then FSU is the place for you)

    FSUcks = The Deion Rule
    UF = AAU
    (that alone tells you about FSUcks academics)

    reFSUcks = With their All Corrupt Conference Officials
    (where they’ll even pull a ‘Swindle in the Swamp’ to ‘give’ you the win)

    Only an FSUcks moe-ron would call them even, much less ahead,
    of the state of Florida’s Premier University, the University of Florida.

    Notice that I’m NOT on an FSU board, attempting to convince them
    of anything.

  15. Fisher – I guess you were impressed with UCF loss to Penn State and UM loss to Louisville. Even FSU has not looked that great in their two wins. You should wait a few more weeks before you start ranking the teams.

    As far as recruiting, only way UF does not have a top 10 class is if they have to change the coaching staff.

  16. And that Uncle 863 is gonna happened. Muddled, this is a Sun board not necessarily a Gate board.
    Why bring up the”swindle”. ? There were bad calls on both sides. The better team won that nite. Gator fans though felt they got the wrong end when leaving the stadium. I was concerned with my safety.

  17. If the Gators fire Muschamp, that will mean that UF is still a bad team. It will also mean that not only will UF continue to strike out in the state of Florida in recruiting, but that they will have a hard time holding on to the recruits that have said yes. Some will stay regardless of who the coach is, like Jackson, Ivie, Knight, etc. But some of the out of state guys like Baker and Thomas might say thanks, but no thanks. It’s only ten more days until we have a clue as to whether the Gators are a better team this year, until the trip to Tuscaloosa, no one knows anything.

  18. We already know enough about this team. We know our defense is once again a dominating Muschamp D. We know Kyle Christy is back on point and Andre Debose is one of the most electrifying kickoff returners giving us one of the best special teams in the league. We know we’ve got at least 6 backs who can play, 2 being one of the most dangerous tandems in the league. We know Robinson is for real, Dunbar is very reliable, Burton is a good pass catching option for a tight end, and we’ve got plenty of other receivers who can hold their own as well. We know Driskel is a smart and capable QB who may not be an all SEC first teamer but is certainly capable of making smart decisions and putting us in great places to win. The only real questions I see is just how capable is the O line (which we’ll find out Saturday vs Kentucky, no need to wait for Bama) and can we rely on Hardin for the long field goals. Just because EMU is a bad team doesn’t mean you can’t use your eyes, analyze things, and get answers to some questions. Heck just compare our team to other teams facing bad opponents. We did a lot better than most I’ll tell you that. Scoring 65 is never easy and shutting out an opponent is never easy. Especially with an obviously vanilla scheme and playing back ups as much as we did.

  19. by That_UAT_Guy I sometimes wonder if you’re actually serious or just kidding. Nothing can be learned from playing a bad team, and Eastern Michigan is an extremely bad team. I guess Arkansas is a great team since they scored 73 points against their paid stiff. But we know that’s not true because they actually played a good team, and were routed at home. No, it’s not hard to score 65 points if you’re playing a very bad team, it happens all the time. That’s why any valid team statistics comparing teams removes FCS games because they are meaningless. UF losing to an FCS team is an anomaly, nothing more. Let’s see what you come up with after UF plays a good team, maybe I can take you seriously then, but right now you’re more of a caricature than someone who is realistic. Right now there is no way to know anything about UF, good or bad, since they haven’t played a good team.

  20. Niece Fisher,

    And according to you Cowart is silently committed to Auburn and FSU. I don’t put too much stock in the opinion of a opposing team’s fan that is here to try and stir things up. Did you get kicked out by your fellow Seminole fans? You would think a true Seminole fan would spend his free time talking about his team. It seems that you are more of a Gator hater than a Seminole fan.

  21. Aux2 – Yes, if you are good enough, NFL teams will find you no matter where you play. Having said that I think there are some advantages to playing a certain schools. The coaching that you receive at a bigger school would be better. The trainers and facilities are better at some schools. If you stand out against better competition, it well increase your draft stock. The better programs are seen by scouts more. All these things can help you on draft day.

    UAT goes too far one way and you go too far the other. While we can not put too much stock in to what happened in the Eastern Michigan game, it would be wrong to say that nothing can be learned. There is a reason why they schedules these type games early. Gives a chance for coaches to learn about their team and make corrections.

  22. Aux you would be perfect to work at ESPN. Don’t know how to evaluate or analyze any game and too stubborn to admit when you’re wrong. We could beat Bama, Auburn, FSU, Georgia, and Oregon by a combined scored of 350-0 in ONE DAY and you’d still say Florida hasn’t proven anything yet. I have a suspicion you’re just hoping we do bad so Muschamp will get fired. And that’s a pathertic thought process to have and not a very good fan. You can learn a LOT form EVERY game. Just open your eyes. Watch the players, know the competition we’re facing, and actually ANALYZE the data. It’s not that hard. Take Driskel for example. I saw him make good pre snap reads, he looked off defenders well, made quick decisions, had zero turnovers, and was overall very accurate. BUT he did seem to get maybe over confident maybe lazy later in the game and started to focus on one receiver and move his eyes less. And there were a couple throws that he SHOULD have had easily but he missed. What does all this mean? It means Driskel is a good veteran QB, but not a perfect one. Probably not gonna be the best SEC QB, but when Roper shows hi,m the game film and works on some of that stuff with him, if he works on it and fixes it, he has a chance to be a first team All SEC guy. We’ll have to wait and see as far as that’s concerned. But for now we know he’s good enough to win games if he has the talent around him (which he does). Now look at the running backs. We saw we had 6 backs play without a lot of drop off, and that’s without Adam Lane. If that’s not the most loaded backfield in the league I’d like to see it. We saw Taylor and Jones are better than ever (which they’ve been awesome in the past) and Mack Brown is right on their heals. Brown just lacks their break away speed. We saw Powell is a back smarter than his years and knows the importance of finding the hole and making that one cut in the hole then off to the races rather than dancing around in the backfield. And he has the speed to be a huge playmaker. We saw Mark Herndon also has big play potential and will be a real threat (if he gets in the game through this stacked backfield). We even saw the walk on Masline has skills. Now move to defense. We can see that Muschamp is gonna produce another top 10 D (what will be his 4th straight). We’ve seen that the inside is pretty much locked down tight and what the defense really needs to work on his keeping contain. It didn’t hurt us this game but their were a few runs we let get outside that against faster SEC teams would have been big gains. So yes we CAN learn a lot from these games. You just have to actually watch the game and do some analysis. Not something ESPN or their followers are big on I know.

  23. Oh and Arkansas does have an explosive offense. That’s why they scored 73. They showed that against Auburn. Auburn just has better coaches than Arky and whoever they were playing so they were able to make the necessary adjustments to shut it down in the 2nd half. Now admittedly I didn’t watch the Arky game so I can’t evaluate it past that, but just watch the 1st half of the Auburn game and tell me Arkansas’ offense is terrible. Coaching. That’s why Arkansas got blown out by Auburn and was able to cream a nobody.

  24. That guy” ur credibility is completely shot with anyone who knows the game. U wouldn’t know what a 5 technique is if it kicked u in your orange and blue rear.seriously u are comparing UF backs to the likes of UGA ????

  25. That’s funny because I played 5 technique and a bit of 3 and 1 technique a few times. Not much. Now do YOU know what you’re talking about?? hahaha Try to come comment on a dead argument to get the last word. Just sad