ORLANDO — Byron Cowart’s high school career ended Saturday with another loss in the state title game.
His Armwood Hawks were defeated 24-10 by Miami Central, the same team that beat them in the Class 6A final last year.
With his senior season now over, the consensus five-star defensive end will turn his focus to recruiting.
Cowart will take his final three official visits to Auburn, Florida and Florida State in January. He’s already visited Alabama and Maryland.
New UF coach Jim McElwain talked to Cowart for an hour last Sunday and met him for the first time Tuesday.
“He was a great guy,” Cowart said. “He has a lot of confidence, has a swagger to him. He has the key to success in his back pocket, that’s what he told me.
“Now he wants to just put that into Florida like they did at Colorado State. He went 10-2 (this year). He has a dream and he’s trying to make it work at Florida.”
Florida’s hiring of McElwain has put Cowart at ease about the future of the football program.
“It’s good. I see the light,” he said. “I hope they see the light. Defense is always going to be good, fundamentally sound. I know a lot of people were saying ‘the offense.’ This is an offensive-minded guy, worked with Saban, won two national championships at Alabama and hopefully Florida’s going in the right direction.”
McElwain wasn’t able to give Cowart answers this week on which coaches will be on staff, but he did address it with the 6-foot-4, 250-pounder.
“He promised me that no matter what, I’ll have a good defensive line coach,” Cowart said. “Defensively, I think they’re going to do what they have been doing.”
Cowart hopes to announce at the Under Armour All-America Game next month, but if he’s not set on a school by then, he’ll wait until signing day. He’ll take his remaining visits regardless of when his decision comes.
Cowart will officially visit Auburn on Jan. 17, the first weekend of the contact period. What did he think of Will Muschamp becoming the Tigers’ defensive coordinator?
“I was happy,” Cowart said. “That was great, because I know that he’s going to run that same defense and Auburn now has a position that’ll stand me up and play that Dante Fowler position.”
Cowart has been impressed with Florida State’s success on the field and in recruting, and he’s keeping a “real close” eye on the Seminoles. He said the recent commitment of five-star DE Josh Sweat to FSU doesn’t hurt the school’s chances.
“That increases it,” Cowart said. “I love to compete, from Martez Ivey on down to CeCe Jefferson. We’re all great guys and we can only learn from each other, because nobody’s perfect. You help me on my pass rush, I’ll help you on your run block.”
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