West Virginia linebacker VanDarius Cowan is entering his fourth season as a college football player in 2020. In those four seasons, Cowan has only played in two career games.
Now healthy and eligible, Cowan has a chance to see some serious playing time for the Mountaineers this season. He is showing glimpses of his ability in training camp according to WVU head coach Neal Brown.
“He has that ability,” Brown said after practice Tuesday. “He’s got to be more consistent, but he’s shown some flashes here in the last couple of days where I think he’s definitely understanding what his role is.”
Talent has never been the problem for Cowan, he’s always had the talent to be on the field. The issues that plague Cowan have always been everything else off the field.
Cowan was dismissed from his high school team at Palm Beach Garden High in Palm Beach Gardens, FL for his behavior during a game. A four-star, top-100 recruit, Cowan signed with Alabama and was good enough as a true freshman in 2017 to appear in two games.
In July 2018, however, Cowan was dismissed from Alabama for a “violation of team rules”. He transferred to West Virginia later that summer. He sat out the 2018 season to fulfill his transfer requirements. Cowan was then suspended for the first four games of the 2019 season due to NCAA eligibility issues.
When Cowan finally got onto the field for the Mountaineers last season, it was clear the talent was still there. He played in two games, against Texas and Iowa State at the beginning of Oct. Cowan was used on 65 total players in those two games, 56 on defense and nine on special teams. He had four tackles and a sack against the Longhorns and two more tackle against the Cyclones before suffering a season-ending knee injury.
Cowan has a real chance to come out of training camp as WVU’s starting bandit linebacker. Beyond all the talk about his talent and potential, perhaps the most important thing is just that he’s healthy enough to play and, maybe more importantly, eligible to do so.
“He’s been out here,” Brown said. “He’s practiced several consecutive days now, and he’s starting to show some signs.”