AuburnFamilyNews.com: Former Auburn defensive lineman, top recruit Byron Cowart finds 'sanctuary' at Maryland

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

Former Auburn defensive lineman, top recruit Byron Cowart finds 'sanctuary' at Maryland


There were times during his two-plus seasons at Auburn when Byron Cowart was "dreading" practice.

After transferring from the program last season, however, the nation's former No. 1 overall recruit has apparently found himself again at Maryland this spring.

"Now, this is my sanctuary," Cowart said, according to the Baltimore Sun. "I come -- I don't even think about what's going on outside. When I'm on the field, I just can have fun. I got my confidence back. I'm feeling good."

Cowart spent two-plus lackluster seasons at Auburn, where he signed in 2015 as part of the Tigers' eighth-ranked recruiting class. Once regarded as the top player in the country coming out of high school, the defensive lineman struggled to live up to expectations on the Plains.

He totaled just six tackles in 12 games as a freshman and followed it up with six more -- with one for a loss -- in 10 games as a sophomore in 2016, when he was surpassed by then-freshman Marlon Davidson on the depth chart and at times struggled to find his way onto the field before an emergency appendectomy cut his season short. Then last season, Cowart moved inside to defensive tackle and appeared in three games with three tackles before leaving the program in September after expressing displeasure over his playing time to head coach Gus Malzahn.

"He came to me and said he wants to quit and pursue other opportunities so we wish him nothing but the best moving forward," Malzahn said Sept. 19.

Cowart, who told AL.com that same day that a health issue with his mother also played into his decision to leave Auburn, finished up classes last semester at a junior college close to his home in Seffner, Fla., before signing with Maryland on National Signing Day in February.

There, Cowart has been reunited with head coach D.J. Durkin, who recruited Cowart to Florida out of high school when he was still an assistant on Will Muschamp's staff, and will have two years of eligibility remaining. Durkin fawned over Cowart to reporters on Tuesday amid the transfer's first spring with the Terps.

"Byron's doing a really good job both in the run and the pass," Durkin said, according to the Sun. "You can really just see him ... and he's been better and better every practice. Byron's been tremendous. He's really taken his job seriously. He's a mature guy. He works really hard. He's been a great leader for other guys on the team. He's doing great for us."

Tom Green is an Auburn beat reporter for Alabama Media Group. Follow him on Twitter @Tomas_Verde.



from Auburn Sports Impact http://www.al.com/auburnfootball/index.ssf/2018/04/byron_cowart_maryland_sanctuar.html

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