COLUMBUS — Ohio State and legendary defensive line coach Larry Johnson have a new weapon for the future: 4-star defensive lineman Jacolbe Cowan has committed to the Buckeyes over Tennessee, North Carolina, Georgia, Clemson and others.
Who is Cowan and how will his versatility and athletic ability help Ohio State in the future? What does his commitment mean for the Buckeyes and their 2020 recruiting class?
Lettermen Row has all the angles on the North Carolina standout and what his commitment means to Ohio State, the Big Ten and more.
What Jacolbe Cowan gives Ohio State on the field
We’ve talked for months on Lettermen Row about what the Buckeyes are looking for in a defensive lineman, and Jacolbe Cowan fits that bill almost exactly.
With the length to play defensive end at 6-foot-5 and the frame to play on the interior of the line at 265 pounds, the 4-star prospect from Charlotte’s Providence Day School gives Larry Johnson another player with versatility. And he’s another top-tier athlete capable of harassing Big Ten quarterbacks for the next handful of years.
Cowan’s frame is that of an elite prospect, and that’s one of the reasons why he has been recruited by Johnson and Ohio State for more than a year to this point. It is worth watching from here is what he does with that frame, because Cowan’s preference is to play defensive end. But at 265 pounds already, it seems possible that he turns into a 6-foot-5, 290-pound player by the time he’s fully immersed in the Buckeyes weight program.
If there’s a knock on Cowan right now, it’s probably related to the level of competition he faces week in and week out in Charlotte. Because of that, it may take a bit of refinement and patience before his productivity matches the level of his potential. Fortunately for Cowan and the Buckeyes, there is no one in the country better at refining defensive linemen than Johnson.
What Jacolbe Cowan means to Ohio State 2020 recruiting class
Commitment No. 23 in Ohio State’s top-ranked Big Ten recruiting class, Cowan is the third defensive lineman to commit to Johnson and the Buckeyes in the 2020 recruiting cycle.
Where the Buckeyes go from here along the defensive line is still up in the air. Cowan, Darrion Henry and Ty Hamilton provide a lot of versatility for Ohio State, but the need for a true edge-rusher type remains. That’s why Knoxville (Tenn.) 4-star Tyler Baron began an official visit to Ohio State just hours following Cowan’s decision was made public. The Buckeyes will have plenty of discussions about how Baron or a player like Utah’s Xavier Carlton could provide that additional rush end and finish out the defensive line haul in this class.
The national recruiting rankings are a bit divided on Cowan. 247Sports.com changed his position in their database from defensive end, the spot he’s played since he was five-years-old. That change led the 247Sports network’s own rankings to drop to No. 379 nationally, a tumble that precipitated a major drop in the composite rankings. Cowan went from No. 52 overall in December to No. 163, where he sits now, meaning he’s still firmly a 4-star prospect even though he’s not regarded as the top-level talent he was just about a year ago.
What makes Jacolbe Cowan stand out
As with many players that Ohio State has landed in the last few years, Cowan is a unique personality in the body of an elite athlete. He loves old-school Motown music and regularly mixes that into his pregame music rotation. He’s interested in sports management as a potential major in college, and one of the primary reasons for choosing the Buckeyes was the Fisher School of Business at Ohio State.
Confident, calm and measured, Cowan is another fantastic addition to the Buckeyes football program as a person and a player.