Alabama linebacker Cowan transfers to WVU

MORGANTOWN — Dismissed Alabama linebacker VanDarius Cowan revealed he’s transferring to West Virginia, where he would become eligible for the 2019 season.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder was a four-star recruit in 2017 — and the nation’s No. 7-rated outside linebacker recruit, per Rivals.com — who appeared in seven games as a true freshman for the Crimson Tide. Cowan’s brief stint in Tuscaloosa turned rocky this spring when academic issues sidelined him from practicing. Coach Nick Saban booted him from the team in July following a bar fight in which Cowan was charged with third-degree assault.

Long and explosive, Cowan’s talent is eclipsed only by his ability to find trouble.

A native of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Cowan was kicked off his high school team midway through his senior season. That cost him an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, though he ultimately signed with Alabama over offers from Florida State, Georgia, Auburn, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

In a curious twist, West Virginia now features two defensive transfers who were top-100 recruits in their respective classes. Former USC nose tackle Kenny Bigelow ranked No. 6 overall in 2013 and Cowan rated 67th in 2017.

Peeking ahead to 2019, West Virginia could be deep at outside linebacker with Cowan joining David Long, Charlie Benton and Josh Chandler. Current senior Quandarius Qualls could still be around then also, if his current knee injury forces a redshirt this fall.

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