Every day until fall camp begins for Ohio State we will profile a different Buckeye football player. Today that player is redshirt freshman defensive end Jacolbe Cowan. Yesterday it was cornerback Denzel Burke. You can find all of the daily Scoop Profiles right here.
No. 93 | Defensive End | 6-4 275 | Redshirt Freshman | Providence Day High School | Charlotte, North Carolina
How’d He Get Here
It was pretty early on in Jacolbe Cowan’s high school career that he began receiving major college offers. Wisconsin offered before his freshman year of school was up. South Carolina, Florida State, and Notre Dame soon followed. Alabama joined the fray with an offer during Cowan’s sophomore season. One month later, Florida did the same. Michigan offered in late November, while the Buckeyes extended their offer in late January of 2018. That March, Cowan visited Clemson, Penn State, Michigan, Notre Dame, Ohio State, and Tennessee. He visited Ohio State unofficially for the Michigan game, then took his only official visit in June of 2019 to Ohio State. He committed to the Buckeyes in October and enrolled in January of 2020. Cowan was ranked the No. 17 defensive tackle in the 2020 class and the No. 163 player overall nationally.
Jacolbe Cowan was never really healthy last year, and last year was a terrible year to have to deal with injuries. Rehab wasn’t what it normally is, and some players had to rehab at home. Cowan did not see the field in 2020, but he was healthy this spring and taking part in all of the practices and workouts. He is currently one of nine defensive ends on the Ohio State roster. Cowan technically has true freshman eligibility, just like defensive end classmate Darrion Henry-Young and 2021 signees Jack Sawyer and JT Tuimoloau. The top four defensive ends return and will command the most snaps. Cowan will be one of five others vying to make it into the rotation this year.
What to Like
Jacolbe Cowan was ranked as a defensive tackle by the recruiting services because they looked at how big he already was and they figured that would just lead to a career on the interior. It may eventually get there, but when Cowan arrived in the winter, he looked more like a defensive end than a tackle. He has the frame to carry some good weight, but that frame could also eventually make him a three tech defensive tackle. Cowan was a very active defender in high school, getting into the backfield routinely. Over his last two seasons at Providence Day School in Charlotte, he amassed 129 tackles, 31 tackles for loss, 22 sacks, seven forced fumbles, and 57 quarterback hurries.
What’s the Ceiling This Year?
Even though Jacolbe Cowan enrolled in January of 2020, this past spring was his first full spring camp. This fall will also be his first real opportunity to show what he can do. There has been a lot of learning going on and he’s finally been able to start putting the lessons to work on the practice field. Playing time is going to be very difficult to come by this year for several of the Ohio State defensive ends, but their opportunities should open up in 2022. Cowan’s snaps will be limited this year, but as long as he sticks by defensive line coach Larry Johnson’s side, he’ll be ready whenever his time comes.
Conceivably, the Buckeyes could lose three defensive ends after this season. Due to the NCAA’s free year, however, they could also return everybody next year. Jacolbe Cowan, meanwhile, will simply continue to work and get better because that opportunity was taken away from him for most of last year. He started out behind the learning curve because his learning got canceled last year. Cowan will get some snaps here and there early this season so that Larry Johnson can see what he does with them. In the coming years, Cowan will have more and more lessons from Johnson to take to the field. He will be a much different player in 2022 than he is now, and he’ll be even better in 2023 and beyond.