Cowart leaves UF visit early

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Byron Cowart will decide between Auburn and Florida on signing day. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

Official visits can last no longer than 48 hours on a college campus for recruits, but five-star defensive end Byron Cowart only spent a fourth of that time at Florida this weekend.

Cowart, who is ranked the nation’s No. 1 overall prospect by ESPN and Rivals, didn’t arrive in Gainesville for his official visit until shortly after midnight Saturday due to his basketball game Friday night.

But less than 12 hours later, Cowart and his mother left for Tampa at noon. According to ESPN’s Derek Tyson, his mom was called in to work.

Calls and texts made to Cowart by The Sun were not immediately returned Saturday. Tyson and sources close to The Sun said Cowart told the UF coaching staff heading into the weekend there was a chance his trip would be cut short.

Now, Cowart could have chosen to stay in Gainesville despite his mother having to leave early and just got a ride back home Sunday. However, he told The Sun beforehand his only reason for taking the visit was his mom.

Sources told The Sun his mother spent all morning with the coaches Saturday, much like they on the first day of the contact period. Once her meeting was finished and she had to go in to work, perhaps Cowart felt he didn’t need to stay.

There’s no denying it would have been beneficial for Florida to have him on campus all weekend, and that missed time could hurt Jim McElwain and his staff down the stretch. But his early departure from the visit doesn’t appear to be a result of him or his mom not enjoying their trip.

Cowart addressed the situation on Twitter following the visit.

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