PLANT CITY, Fla. -- Byron Cowart, the nation's No.1 player has been focused on two schools, Oregon and Florida, for most of his recruitment. But after a busy spring that saw visits from schools from all over the country, a few new programs have entered the mix for the 6-foot-3, 257-pound defensive end.
While there are new schools in the mix, Cowart said the Ducks are still the school to beat.
"Yeah, Oregon is still my leader," Cowart said. "Me and coach Aiken (Oregon's defensive line coach) are still working on building our relationship. It's kind of hard being in two different time zones but if we want it to work we're going to make it happen."
Cowart said he planning on taking an unofficial visit to Eugene in July and he's hoping the extravagant facilities live up to their reputation.
"I hope it's like I think it's like," Cowart said. "I hope my expectations are met when I go up there."
Clemson is a new school on the radar for Cowart and he said the relationship he's started to build with assistant
Tony Elliott has put the Tigers firmly in the mix.
"I'm building a relationship with my recruiter, he's the running backs coach there," Cowart said. "It's kind of crazy because as a prospect I always have this wall up and I didn't think I was going to let it down with them but we're building a strong relationship."
Cowart is friends with 2014 Clemson signee Artavis Scott and said the two are planning to make a trip together this summer.
"I'm going to try to get up there with Atravis Scott," Cowart said. "He's a Team Tampa guy and he's up there so I'm going to try to get up there and see him and see how it is."
Even though the Tigers are in the mix, Cowart said they have some catching up to do to get on Florida's level.
"We're just like family," Cowart said of the Gators. "Coach Lawing, coach Durkin,
coach Muschamp, we're all close. They mean a lot to me outside of football so it's like family to me."
In the past Cowart had cooled on Alabama, but said a new defensive line coach and a new plan for how he might fit in has reignited his interest.
"Coach Davis, he believes in getting after it," Cowart said. "He's new, but I've done my research on him and I like his style. He wants me to play everywhere, and I love it. On the left side, on the right side, all over the place. I like his plan for me."
This summer Cowart will participate in the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge presented by Under Armour. He also said he's planning on taking several unofficial visits, with trips to Oregon, Florida, Alabama, Auburn, Clemson and several others on the schedule.
Woody Wommack is a Southeast Region football recruiting analyst for Rivals.com. You can click here to follow him on Twitter.
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