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4-star DL target Jacolbe Cowan will be on the "hunt" at UGA today.

4-star DL Jacolbe Cowan will be on the scavenger hunt at UGA today

Want to attack every day with the latest UGA football recruiting info? The read for today will shed a little light on what is trending to be an annual thing at UGA. That’s the spring invitation-only scavenger hunt. 4-star DL Jacolbe Cowan is one of many that will be there. The occasion also allows the chance to share his story. 

Jacolbe Cowan and Tray Scott go back. Way back.

When he an eighth-grade pup, Scott knew his name. Cowan was attending an on-campus event at North Carolina. Scott was on staff there at the time.

As the story goes, the North Carolina native already looked the part of an elite prospect. Cowan said Scott told him he might not be able to sign him at North Carolina. He had that much potential.

Scott is definitely at a school that can sign him now.

The 4-star DL hybrid will be one of many at the UGA scavenger hunt event today in Athens. The well-respected 247Sports Composite rating has been up and down with Cowan. He’s been rated as a top 50 prospect, a top 75 prospect and he’s seen his position ranking flip from DE to DT.

He will currently slot as the nation’s No. 13 DT and No. 154 overall prospect.

“I think the majority of coaches see me as a versatile guy,” Cowan said. “I can not only play the edge but I have the speed and can maintain my speed and quickness to play there. But with my weight, they also see me moving inside as well. It will depend on matchup-wise and scheme-wise. That is what I hear from the particular coaching staffs.”

“They all see me as a versatile guy. Especially when it comes to Georgia. Coach Scott sees me as a combo defensive end like a Jonathan Ledbetter or a Malik Herring type of guy. He tells me to watch those guys all the time. Because he sees me being a Malik-type guy. A guy who can be really versatile in any defense.”

Cowan likes that. He wants his game to be versatile and to be seen as a guy that can help a lot of areas. It will help him get on the field faster.

“I think that suits my game well,” he said.

He might take one or two officials in the spring. But a lot of coaches want him to take those during the season or in that short period between the season and the early signing period.

Don’t look for him to cut down his options further.

“I will basically be a guy that just takes his visits and commits without having a top 5 or a top 3 or anything like that,” Cowan said. “I’m not saying that won’t happen. But I’m saying as of right now the way my recruitment in going I won’t be a guy that comes out with another top list. I think I will be a guy who ends up committing to a school when I feel like the time is right.”

Cowan said no school has secured an official visit as of yet. He will use May to check off a bunch of unofficials. Those will shape which schools garner his official visits.

Jacolbe Cowan-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting
Jacolbe Cowan really started to check out Georgia in the 2017 season. He made two trips to games in the month of October as he began to weigh in all things UGA. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

5 interesting things to know now about Jacolbe Cowan

Let’s expand the narrative with five quick things to know about this young man.

  • He is now a quarter of an inch shy of the 6-foot-6 mark. That was his height at the Charlotte Opening in late April. Cowan has grown almost a full inch over the last year. “I’ve grown a lot actually,” Cowan said. “My weight was also actually 272.”
  • He’s put on about 10-15 pounds since last season. It appears to be some very good weight. He still looks like a 255-pounder. That’s even though he will not reach age 18 until he is already in college.
  • His Opening testing went well with a 4.47 in the pro agility drill. That is a sporty time for a 270-pound DL. He threw the Powerball another 44 feet and charted a 32-inch vertical.
  • Cowan said he didn’t get to warm up in the manner he would have liked for the 40, but still clocked a time in under 4.9 seconds.
  • Georgia has amplified its recruiting interest with Cowan. He will hear from Scott on the regular and now will also chat with Kirby Smart and first-year defensive coordinator Dan Lanning.

He summarized what he is looking for with his decision.

  • A place to flourish academically and athletically
  • Great academics and a winning program
  • A chance to earn a way to get on the field early
  • “I will put all my faith in God to take care of this,” he said. “I know he will come through with the right decision in my heart.”

Check out his Year 3 junior film.

Jacolbe Cowan and his next few recruiting trips

Count him among the many elite 2020 prospects who plan to enroll early. He can do that out of Providence Day School in the Charlotte Metro area.

Cowan feels that both of his in-state schools (North Carolina and North Carolina State) are true contenders for his decision. He’s been to Chapel Hill a lot but might not return until later this summer.

North Carolina basically recruits Cowan with the entire staff. He hears from six or seven on-field coaches for that program.

South Carolina is a trip on his mind. So will be another Wolfpack visit. Smart has been hoping to see him at the scavenger hunt for a while now.

LSU, Ohio State, Oklahoma, Oregon and Tennessee are also in the mix here. Especially the Buckeyes. He speaks on a daily basis with head coach Ryan Day. Ohio State offered him when he was a sophomore, too.

Georgia still makes him feel like a priority, too.

“Most definitely,” Cowan said. “I am in constant communication with the staff as a whole. Whether that be coach Scott or even coach Lanning. He and I are really working on a relationship as well. Coach Smart and I talk on a consistent basis now. I definitely feel like I am a priority and they all voice their opinion on how they feel about me as a player and as a person. They really just express how much they do want me to become a Georgia Bulldog.”

There is no timetable with this decision.

Jacolbe Cowan-UGA recruiting-Georgia recruiting-Georgia football recruiting
Jacolbe Cowan said if he got that right “gut” feeling, then he has researched his college decision enough by now to make a commitment to the right school. (Jeff Sentell/DawgNation)

“It will just be when the time is right,” Cowan said. “Whether it be this summer or this spring or during the season or before the season or afterward.”

He doesn’t see himself being a silent commitment anywhere. Not even to lock up a spot in a stacked class. But that could change.

Cowan has done his diligence when it comes to research on the recruiting options. He took two trips to UGA back in October of 2017 to check out the ascension of the program under Smart.

But he’s done that kind of stuff at a lot of places. Not just Georgia.

If the mood arises, the right moment could trigger a commitment. If it does, it will not be a knee-jerk reaction.

“Most definitely,” he said. “If I get that urge and that feeling man. Whether that is tomorrow or whether that is a month from now, I’ll make that decision. I know it is really a gut feeling that you get from guys that have already gone on and made that move to choose their school. When I know the time is right, then I will make that decision.”

A professional outlook from Jacolbe Cowan

He has noticed the up-and-down ratings he’s gotten lately from the national recruiting services. Yet he handled that topic in maybe the nicest and most professional way he possibly could.

“I don’t really look at that too much,” Cowan said. “Really because I know college coaches don’t care too much about that. I know you will have some that do. They think about things the wrong way. … But I do feel that I am one of the guys who is maybe the most slept-on. I believe in my game and I think my game speaks for itself. Specifically in camps but also on the field as well for a game.”

“I just feel like I am a guy that is grinding my tail off and working so much lately on my game that I try not to pay too much attention to certain things like that. But I think my game will talk for itself and speak for itself at the end of the day. But it is definitely motivation.”

He wants to study business and sports management. Cowan can see himself as a business entrepreneur out on his own one day.

What does he like the best about Georgia?

“I think that academically and athletically they are considered a top-tier program,” he said. “They have a great vision for the program. They have great players and a great vision and all the guys want to come in and grind and be successful. I love the coaching staff there. There are a lot of young guys there and those guys can relate well to us young guys, too.”

“It is still an up-and-coming program even though they are back to where they were in the years past when Georgia was a strong team. I think the best is yet to come for Georgia football and I am definitely excited to see where they go.”

The “classified” section of the Jacolbe Cowan conversation

There might be only one Brandon Adams. But the clear feeling here is that there are a lot of recruiting fans who think like our DawgNation Daily at times.

He’d likely drop kick his pet squirrel if Cowan was not quizzed about some “online chatter” that popped up after G-Day with Cowan.

Cowan will again express his thoughts clearly here and with intelligence. Mixed in with a dollop of restraint.

He is aware of the amount of talent that Clemson and LSU are stacking up in this cycle. Alabama is always in the picture, too.

That said, there is a chance for the Bulldogs with 2020 targets like Cowan and Arik Gilbert and Kendall Milton and Kelee Ringo and Mekhail Sherman.

Those elite 5-star prospects, like Cowan, all like UGA already. The Bulldogs check a lot of the big boxes on their own with all of them. The fact that other elite prospects also have Georgia as a top school in common is another factor to consider here.

Those guys do not all have Alabama or LSU or even Clemson as mutual teams of high interest.

“You always want to go to a school where you play alongside other talented players,” Cowan said. “Just all-around well-rounded players. So I think that is definitely a thing you consider when you are already choosing a school for the real right reasons anyway. All the schools that you named are great schools that are working on building great classes.”

“Specifically Clemson and LSU. Those are some classes that have gotten kicked up to the right spots. That’s personally for me a thing I look at. I definitely want to play around or be around other great players that are going to push me on a daily basis. That I know can make plays and will be great people to be around.”

Did he get his Intel from his “bruddas” about their G-Day visits? He did. Gilbert has even said that there were things said at G-Day that need to be kept “classified.”

When Cowan was asked about his reporting skills on that topic, he laughed.

“I’m going to put it like this and like you said it is classified and I am not going to express everything that those guys said,” Cowan said. “But I know that each and every one of those guys enjoyed their visit, they had a great time and they are definitely looking forward to getting back to Georgia.”

“I think that’s all you need to hear from what they said and what I heard.”

Hold up … What is this scavenger hunt about anyway?

Georgia had a wildly successful scavenger hunt event last May.

It included the likes of Rian Davis, Nakobe Dean, Jermaine Johnson, Nolan Smith and Tyrique Stevenson, among many others. Those guys wound up being core signees in the 2019 class.

The “hunt” involved a little bit of everything. Think campus tour yet with reality show twists. Clues were given and the search parties had to go to different sections on the campus to find a mystery item and another section of an overall puzzle.

Former QB commit John Rhys Plumlee ended up winning the thing.

Each puzzle shaped up to be a giant-sized print of each scavenger in a cool UGA edit. The parents loved it.

Think of a campus tour without the monotony. Or the time structure. One of the elements of the hunt was trying to find Coach Smart on campus and grab a selfie. Then share it across social media. Those “tweets” essentially became commercials for fun at UGA. Other recruits saw that, too.

It went over quite well. It will easily rank as one of the most innovative things the well-oiled UGA recruiting machine has done hosting key recruits from out of state and their families.

That’s why it looks like Georgia is making this an annual affair.

5-star 2020 prospect Arik Gilbert won’t be at this year’s event. But he attended last year’s “hunt” with his father. I’m told that was a splendid time, too.

Some big names will be in attendance

DawgNation.com has pegged this as mostly an event for the class of 2020. Naturally. It is invitation-only but there will be a few big 2021 prospects on hand, too.

We’ve been building this list all week in the recruiting threads of the DawgNation forum. 

Here are some of the biggest names expected to be in town and on the hunt today:

Class of 2020

  • 5-star CB Kelee Ringo
  • 5-star DL Jordan Burch
  • 5-star OG Justin Rogers (official visit)
  • 4-star RB Seth McGowan (official visit)
  • 4-star DB Avantae “Tae” Williams

Class of 2021

  • 5-star OT Amarius Mims
  • 4-star QB Brock Vandagriff

This is by no means an official list. It is designed to be a somewhat low-key affair with the chance to mingle with some of the top targets on the board.

There were some several targets in the 2019 class who were at the event last May but went on to sign with another school. But the rampant amount of good work it did to cement Georgia’s place in the hearts and minds of a lot of those key 2019 signees says a lot.


Miss any Intel? The DawgNation recruiting archive will get you up to speed just as fast as former Georgia All-American LB Roquan Smith found the ball after the snap.

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