John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama linebacker VanDarius Cowan (43) brings down LSU’s Russell Gage during last season’s game in Tuscaloosa, Ala.


MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Dismissed Alabama linebacker VanDarius Cowan revealed he’s transferring to West Virginia, where he can become eligible for the 2019 season.

The 6-foot-4, 235-pounder was a four-star recruit in 2017 — and the nation’s No. 7-rated outside linebacker recruit, per — who appeared in seven games as a true freshman for the Crimson Tide. Cowan’s brief stint in Tuscaloosa turned rocky this spring when academic issues sidelined him from practicing. Coach Nick Saban booted him from the team in July following a bar fight in which Cowan was charged with third-degree assault.

A source told WVMetroNews that Cowan considered spending the fall at junior college, but instead chose to sit out the year as a transfer. He’ll have three years’ eligibility remaining.

Long and explosive, his talent is eclipsed only by his ability to find trouble.

A native of Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., Cowan was kicked off his high school team midway through his senior season. That cost him an invitation to the U.S. Army All-American Bowl, though he ultimately signed with Alabama over offers from Florida State, Georgia, Auburn, Ohio State and Notre Dame.

In a curious twist, West Virginia now features two defensive transfers who were top-100 recruits in their respective classes. Former USC nose tackle Kenny Bigelow ranked No. 6 overall in 2013 and Cowan rated 67th in 2017.

Peeking ahead to 2019, West Virginia could be deep at outside linebacker with Cowan joining David Long, Charlie Benton and Josh Chandler. Current senior Quandarius Qualls could still be around then also, if his current knee injury forces a redshirt this fall.

Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports

Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa pretends to interview linebacker VanDarius Cowan (43) during media day last January before the national championship game.

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