Alabama dismisses top 100 recruit VanDarius Cowan from program

Alabama linebacker Keith Holcombe (42) and linebacker VanDarius Cowan (43) work through drills during football practice, Wednesday, Dec. 20, 2017, at the Hank Crisp Indoor Facility in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (Vasha Hunt/ via AP)

Alabama linebacker VanDarius Cowan has been dismissed from the program for violating team rules.

Crimson Tide coach Nick Saban announced the decision Monday morning, days after Cowan was arrested by Tuscaloosa Police. According to the Tuscaloosa News, Cowan, 19, is facing a misdemeanor assault charge stemming from an incident at a local bar last month.

“VanDarius has been dismissed from the team and is no longer a part of our football program due to a violation of team rules,” Saban said in a statement. “Each of us has a responsibility to represent The University of Alabama in a first-class way, and failure to meet those standards can’t be tolerated. We wish VanDarius the very best in the future.”

Cowan is accused of punching a man in the face

Police say Cowan is accused of punching a man in the face in the early morning hours of June 23. The man described his injuries to the Tuscaloosa News:

According to the police report, Cowan is accused of punching Jesse Ray, 26, in the face at High Tide bar off the Strip early on the morning of June 23.

Ray told The Tuscaloosa News that he was entering the bar as Cowan was leaving and said he did nothing to provoke him. He said he drove himself to the emergency room at DCH Regional Medical Center where he was treated for a gash on his lip that required seven stitches. He has a broken tooth and nerve damage, he said.

Cowan turned himself in on Thursday and was released on $500 bond.

Cowan was a coveted recruit in 2017

The Palm Beach Gardens, Florida, native committed to Alabama early in his recruiting process. When he signed with the program, he was rated by as the 67th-best prospect in the country and the seventh-best outside linebacker prospect in his class.

Cowan appeared in seven games as a true freshman and registered two tackles. He recently moved to inside linebacker and was competing for playing time with several other young players. Even without Cowan, the Tide has Dylan Moses and Mack Wilson returning in the middle. The two are expected to play with the top defensive unit when the season begins Sept. 1 against Louisville in Orlando.

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