Cowley, who could play linebacker, defensive end or tight end, was ecstatic to add an offer from the Scarlet Knights.
"It was my first time actually being able to meet with coach [Kyle] Flood," Cowley said. "He's a great guy, and definitely a great leader. I can see why they're going to do well in a new conference under his leadership."
Cowley already holds offers from Monmouth, Elon and Bucknell, but the in-state Big Ten option gives him a new leader early in the recruiting process.
"It's awesome," he said. "It's 40 minutes away from me in state, and it's great. It gives me a lot of confidence in my talents, and to have a guy like him have faith in me feels great. … I'm sure it will help me get the attention of other schools, but right now Rutgers is definitely up top and we'll see what else happens."
Cowley does not have other visits set in stone, but plans to explore his options before a decision early in his senior year.
"I'm not deciding any time soon, but maybe early senior year," he said. "I definitely want to get it done, but I want to see what schools have to offer and visit some places. … I'd like to see structure within the programs and all of the coaches and academics at other schools. I want to find a place with academics and athletics and a bunch of good guys all in once place."
Rutgers is recruiting Cowley as a linebacker or tight end, but could also use him as a defensive end. Cowley watched all three positions closely Tuesday, and met the assistants at each position – Bob Fraser, Anthony Campanile and Jim Panagos.
"It was great," he said. "The practice was really well-run and up tempo. …The defensive and offensive line were really going at it, and they kind of set the tempo for everyone else. The linebackers looked good, and they were getting after it and getting into a couple of scruffs."