Byron Cowart is one of the best defensive ends in the Class of 2015, possessing a good combination of size and quickness.
Cowart, out of Armwood High School in Seffner, Fla., stands 6'3.5 and weighs in at 250 pounds. He runs a reported 4.6-second 40-yard dash. As of February 2014, he's rated as a five-star prospect by Rivals and Scout, and a four-star by 247Sports and ESPN. The 247Sports Composite ratings list him as the No. 30 player in the nation, No. 3 strong-side defensive end and No. 7 from his home state.
Cowart is receiving interest from schools across the country, and he holds 27 scholarship offers from top programs such as Auburn, Florida, Oregon, Alabama, Florida State, Georgia, LSU, Miami, Notre Dame and USC.
Fans can follow Cowart on Twitter at @ByronHawkStar99.
Physically, Cowart looks like the top player in this class. His musculature development is ridiculous for a high schooler, and he is an imposing figure. And he's quite good at camps and combines.
On the field, Cowart is very good as well, but not quite as good as one would expect him to be after seeing him work out. I watched Cowart a lot in the Florida 8A State Title Game against Miami Central, and he did not make a big impact. In fairness, however, he was matched up against one of the best tackles in the country in Trevor Darling (a Miami signee), and Central made a concerted effort to run away from Cowart, or to let him take himself out of the play.
Cowart may be close to being topped-out size wise. He is not someone with a frame that I would project to add 25 more pounds once he reaches college, meaning that he is closer to his ceiling than some. Because scouting and rating recruits is largely a projection game, that does impact his evaluation to an extent.
At his best, Cowart can overwhelm opposing blockers with his strength and quickness. He really does a great job of keeping his feet moving on contact. He also changes directions pretty well, and his closing speed in the open field is also good.
Cowart does not have the most developed repertoire of moves, and improvement in his game will likely come from using better technique. While he does show impressive quickness and burst in his highlights, he must show it more consistently in games. Cowart sometimes just stands up, not playing with burst or bend. In college, he must improve that, because blockers at the level of college football Cowart will be playing can easily handle him if he doesn't play with good bend and technique.
I think Cowart is one of the ten or so best defensive ends in the country, and think he is a potential multi-year BCS starter with NFL upside.