Florida’s team and fan base will be hurting for days following Saturday’s last-second loss to LSU.
But several of the recruits in attendance weren’t as gloomy about the game afterward, including consensus five-star defensive end Byron Cowart.
Rivals’ No. 1 overall prospect did not feel discouraged by UF’s performance against the Tigers.
“Not at all,” Cowart said. “This past week they had a lot of distractions with the whole Treon Harris incident. So I feel like with the week they had, they played a great game. They brought the team together.
“I know wherever I go, the guys that I’m going be around won’t (lose games like that). When we get on the field, I’m going to try to do all I can to get all 11 guys to the ball. When it comes to defense, I’m going to go all out.”
The highlight of his visit was watching defensive end Dante Fowler Jr. Cowart would likely replace him in Florida’s starting lineup next year if he leaves early for the NFL after this season.
“I like that guy,” Cowart said. “I talked to him before the game. He just loves football. He told me to go wherever I think fits me and go with my heart.
“I really admire that guy. I didn’t ever think I would look up to him, but he’s that dude. I like how he plays. He has fun with the crowd.”
The 6-foot-4, 260-pounder, who said he would also like to play some tight end in college, saw an opportunity at both positions. But UF coach Will Muschamp advised him that it’s not easy.
“I was asking coach why is it so hard to play both ways,” Coward said. “He was like, ‘When you get here, you play a series and you’ll understand. It takes a lot out of you.’ They don’t have (enough) rotation.”
Muschamp also talked to Cowart about the chances Florida had to win the game.
“He was just saying control the controllables,” Cowart said of their conversation. “They had a game plan. They went out and executed it. But some situations you can’t control. … They had opportunities.”
Cowart feels confident about the Gators moving forward if they can get over the loss quickly.
“I feel like they have it in the bag,” he said. “I was talking to (defensive line) coach (Brad) Lawing and he told me all their games are winnable. His thing is, don’t let LSU beat you twice. Don’t go out and have a bad week of practice.
“If they move on from this, it will be a lesson. Our first game, we lost to Plant. We could have let that carry over (to the next game).”
Cowart officially visits Alabama next weekend and is scheduled to take his three remaining trips to Florida (Nov. 15), Oregon (Nov. 22) and Florida State (Nov. 29). He said Auburn and Ole Miss are gaining his interest and may receive a visit from him.
He plans to announce his decision at the Under Armour All-America Game before enrolling early at the school of his choice.
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