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What does Jacolbe Cowan bring to Ohio State?

The Buckeyes have another talented defensive tackle on board

Ryan Callahan - 247Sports

You’ll never believe this, but Larry Johnson has landed yet another elite defensive lineman from the east coast. I know, wild, right? This time, Johnson has made one of his more impressive moves yet, jumping down into North Carolina and taking tackle Jacolbe Cowan away from three southern school stalwarts and a burgeoning Oregon program.

Cowan, a composite four-star touted for his elite athleticism and size, looked earmarked for Georgia or North Carolina not that long ago. Despite the built-in advantages those school have, being closer to Cowan, a recent visit to Ohio State, and constant connection with Johnson was enough for the Buckeyes to land the talented defensive lineman.

So, why should Buckeye fans be excited about the newest member of the 2020 class?


On the field

Before he steps on the field, Cowan certainly has the look of an elite tackle prospect. At 6-foot-5, 277 pounds, he’s an extremely well built player, and he looks to have the frame to add at least 10 or 15 more pounds of muscle upon arrival in Columbus. Ohio State loves when they can add good weight to linemen, and Cowan can absolutely add good weight without losing much mobility.

Why’s that? Well, when Cowan actually steps on the field, the first thing that shows up is just how mobile he is. Despite being a certified large human being, Cowan moves like a much smaller defensive end, and actually plays most of his time as an end for his high school, with little to no trouble getting past tackles.

Honestly, and this is the easy comparison because they’re both hybrid linemen from the east coast, but Cowan looks pretty similar to how Jalyn Holmes looked in the latter half of his time in Columbus. Both players weren’t quite athletic enough to be true edge rushers, but when Holmes added some extra weight, he became a nasty interior pass rusher. Cowan is already roughly that size, and he has the pass rushing moves, which means he could slide right into that interior rush role.

That fits perfectly with the more rush-stopping oriented Darrion Henry, who Cowan is joining on the inside of the defensive line in the 2020 class. If the two end up starting at the same time — as Ohio State certainly hopes they do — Cowan allows Henry to focus on clogging up the middle and stuffing the run, while Cowan can focus on providing interior pressure, which is pretty much the best way to disrupt statue quarterbacks. Each of the best Buckeye defenses have had great interior pressure, and it looks like Cowan could be the next in a long line of great interior pass rushers.


In the class

Cowan is the 23rd member of Ohio State’s 2020 class. He’s, as mentioned, the third defensive lineman, along with Henry and Ty Hamilton, though he could be the fourth if Mitchell Melton ends up moving into an edge rusher spot.

Cowan picked Ohio State, as I alluded to, over Georgia, North Carolina, Tennessee and Oregon. He also had some Clemson interest at one point, but both sides seemed to move apart, which Ohio State certainly isn’t complaining about. Anytime you can pull a great player out of the SEC/ACC footprint, you should be delighted to do so, and Larry Johnson has made a career off of doing just that.

Check out Cowan’s highlights: