It’s been over 600 days since VanDarius Cowan strapped up for the University of Alabama Crimson Tide.
A former 4-star recruit and ESPN 300
Cowan brings a hard-hitting, quick 6 foot-4 presence to Vic Koenning’s defense, and although the hype around his debut looms large, head coach Neal Brown made sure to quickly remind fans that Cowan hasn’t seen game snaps in two years.
“Our expectations have to be reasonable,” said Brown. “He hasn’t played a football game in well over two years.”
Still, it’s difficult to not get excited about what Cowan can bring to the table once he gets his legs back. He played in seven games as a true freshman for the Crimson Tide including on the special teams unit in the national championship game against Georgia.
While its been said that Cowan will find a home in Koenning’s Bandit position at linebacker, it is unclear the best strength of Cowan.
“We don’t obviously know yet what he does best. Sometimes it’s important to have a guy that’s got some really good instincts,” said defense coordinator Vic Koenning. “If I’m fitting off a lineman, I’m not just running up the lineman tail end, I’m filling the gap. I think he’s got some good natural feel and some good vision.”
While the coaching staff may be hesitant to set a bar of expectation for Cowan, the guys he goes against every day in practice, his teammates, know the type of player they have amongst them.
“He’s fast, smart and a great athlete,” said fellow linebacker Shea Campbell. “It’s going to be nice getting him into the gold and blue this weekend.
Senior leader Reese Donahue, who has been with the program all four years, is excited about Cowan’s debut Saturday, and thinks he could be integral moving forward.
“I can’t say enough about his athletic ability and what he brings to the table, to that Bandit position. He could be an asset to us. I’m excited to see what he does on Saturday,” said Donahue.
Cover Photo Credit: Alex King, 247sports