It’s been a busy month for the top ranked player according to the ESPN top 100 Byron Cowart. Between his week long domination of the Under All American practices to a busy official visit schedule last weekend to interviews and coaching contact from all directions, Cowart is a wanted man.
All that should reach a conclusion less than two weeks from now on February 4th, national signing day, when he will announce where he’ll be playing football and attending school.
While he still remains undecided, at least publicly, he has narrowed his list of schools to two according to Derek Tyson, national recruiting analyst for ESPN. Those two schools are Auburn, where he visited last weekend with several other top Gator targets, and Florida, long considered the favorites to land his signature.
How does this bode for the home state Gators?
The answer is mixed.
It helps that he eliminated Florida State which many thought to be a viable option. The fact that it comes directly on the heels of an official visit weekend at Auburn with six players at the top of the Gators board and friends on the recruiting trail can’t help the Gators. Especially considering the main two coaches who had been recruiting them to Florida for the last couple of years, Will Muschamp and Travaris Robinson, are both now on staff at Auburn.
And then there’s the supposed package deal mentioned by CeCe Jefferson for him, Cowart, and linebacker Jeffrey Holland, all previously considered Gator locks.
He’s repeated that statement in multiple interviews essentially implying the three will be attending Auburn together. Of course, he could be referring to Florida as well as those are the only two schools in all three of the players’ final lists.
However, keep in mind that CeCe is one of those that likes to play the recruiting game. He loves to talk and loves to troll fan bases.
Most who follow recruiting don’t truly believe all three will end up at the same school.
It really comes down to where he’s comfortable as he’s repeated in multiple interviews. That could bode well for Florida as he and his mom have spoken highly in the past of the academics at Florida and his comfort level there.
Auburn really became a major player after Muschamp left and became the defensive coordinator for Auburn.
However, there was this curious retweet by Cowart:
Auburn is in the Top 20, Florida obviously is not.
However, perhaps, most telling was the final quote in Tyson’s story:
“I don’t want to make a mistake,” Cowart said. “Like my mom said, when you are rushing and you’re moving too fast sometimes you can make a mistake and go somewhere that you never even thought you would go. So I want to be in the right mind and be focused, and to know that this is the school I want to go to.”
Does this mean he’s likely to stick with long time favorite, Florida? Time will tell but it appears the Gators may very well be in the driver’s seat here.
**Update 1/23/15 6:40 pm CST**
A report by 247sports recruiting analyst Josh Newberg appears to contradict the widely circulated idea that Cowart knew about Lawing’s hire prior to eliminating the Noles from his list of finalists. It also could mean the Noles may be back in on his recruitment.
“This has definitely caught me by surprise,” Cowart said concerning Lawing’s hire by FSU. “There’s been a lot of surprises in my recruitment. The fact that FSU got Lawing will give me a lot to think about given my relationship and connection with him. I got a lot of stuff going on, but I’ll stay composed and deal with the pressure. There’s a lot going on.”
After visiting Florida this weekend, will he actually trip to Tallahassee next weekend as originally planned?
“I don’t know about what’s going to happen next weekend,” Cowart said in the same story. “I have to call (FSU Coach Lawrence) Dawsey, talk to my mom and then I’ll call you and let you know.”
**Update 1/24/15 6:20 pm CST**
After having to cut his Florida official visit short due to work issues with his mother, lots of speculation by fans across social media led Cowart to tweet this statement:
So there you have it. It appears he will be shutting it down until he’s ready to make a decision.
Isn’t recruiting fun?