Malzahn: Former top recruit Byron Cowart leaves Auburn team

Malzahn: Former top recruit Byron Cowart leaves Auburn team”

Williams has been heavily involved in the defensive line rotation since last season, when he finished with 13 total tackles and 2.5 sacks. The Tigers have set the tone up front with a defensive line that has lost key faces in the past year.

When Auburn started the 2017 season, it had three known quantities at defensive tackle - returning starter Dontavius Russell, rising star sophomore Derrick Brown and junior reserve Andrew Williams.

The Tigers will open up conference play at Missouri Saturday with just seven scholarship defensive tackles on the roster, but three of those have played little to no snaps this season. While Cowart only had a total of 3 tackles in three games, Williams has recorded multiple tackles in each contest.

"Me and him came in together, kind of played some high school stuff together", said wide receiver Ryan Davis, who grew up not far from Cowart in St. Petersburg.

With Cowart out of the picture, freshman Tyrone Truesdell will become an even bigger role player off the bench.

While the former No. 1 overall prospect has not had a lot of production on the defensive line, Cowart's departure leaves a vacancy in the team's deep rotation at defensive tackle for the remainder of the season.

Cowart chose Auburn over Alabama, Florida, Florida State and others when he was a recruit. Last season, he was overtaken on the depth chart by true freshman Marlon Davidson, who went on to be a Freshmen All-SEC selection.

"Nick Coe has got the ability to come inside. It facilitates that we don't always have to move Marlon in there, we don't always have to move Nick in there on first and second down". The 5-foot-11, 270-pounder has played in two of Auburn's first three games but has yet to record a tackle.

"Byron Cowart has come to me numerous times over the past couple weeks disappointed in his playing time", Malzahn said. He's one of our brothers. Byron Cowart discussed a variety of important, non-football reasons to head back home. So depth is not really an issue on the defensive line. Plus I already wasn't playing enough and contributing to the team. "We're going to stay in touch with him, but we wish him nothing but the best".

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