"He just didn't get in faxed in until recently," Malzahn said of Cowart's delay. "We felt very good about it all along. I know the media and uncertainty and all that, but felt good about it all the time."
At his announcement, Cowart said, “First off I want to thank God. It has been a long journey. I want to thank all of the coaches and administration. Thanks for the great crowd coming out today. We’ll see how I do on the next level. War Eagle.”
There is no question that Auburn's addition of Will Muschamp as defensive coordinator and Travaris Robinson on the staff had a huge impact on Cowart. While they played a role, Cowart said it was just as much about his comfort level at Auburn that led to announce that he plans to sign with the Tigers.
"When he first left Florida and got hired at Auburn, I had been talking to Auburn," Cowart said. "It was just never out there. Auburn was in my top five way before Will even went to Auburn. He played a role a little bit, but I told people that regardless if I was to get hurt, if I could never play football again, or if Will was to leave or T-Rob was to leave, I still could see myself at Auburn University. That's how I feel and that's where my heart is. He played a little role, but not that much."
The prospect added, ""I went there and I felt at home. I went there before the Iron Bowl and I asked myself could I see myself playing in it? Yeah, and then I never went back to it. When I did go back to it and went on my official with my mom and my mom got a feel for it and she loved it.
"Thank God for the SEC Network because they’re all over and I know I can get my degree there and I have a three year plan for me and everything just clicked. Coach (Lance) Thompson coming from Alabama, he’s a great guy, Coach Garner, Muschamp, T-Rob, all of those guys I’m familiar with. All around it just felt like home."
As a senior Cowart made 68 tackles with 11 sacks and 21 tackles for losses. He also caused five fumbles and blocked three punts. In his final two seasons for the Hawks the playmaker had 140 tackles, 36 tackles for losses and 24 sacks.
That kind of ability is what Malzahn is looking for out of Cowart to provide a punch opposite Carl Lawson right away next season.
"You're talking about the best player in the country," Malzahn said of Cowart. "He'll have a chance to compete and a chance to be on the field immediately with his skill set."