When Byron Cowart signed with Auburn in the class of 2015, expectations were enormous.

Cowart signing with the Tigers was a slap in the face to the in-state Florida Gators, especially after UF fired Will Muschamp. Muschamp then was hired at Auburn, and signing Cowart became priority No. 1. That certainly paid off, as the Tigers were able to ink Cowart on National Signing Day.

The former No. 3 overall prospect’s career never quite got off the ground at Auburn, though, and he eventually wound up transferring to Maryland after leaving The Plains.

AL.com’s Michael Casagrande spent time with Cowart at the NFL Combine, and the former top recruit had some honest answers to questions about Auburn.

“Coming out, I was like, ‘I’m going to be the next Jadeveon Clowney,’” Cowart told AL.com’s Casagrande. “That’s what I thought. He was the end coming out going to the league when I was going into college. The expectations, I didn’t really understand it. I didn’t know it came with it. I didn’t even know what adversity was. It was just, Oh, I’m a good high school player. I think it transfers to college. I didn’t know the preparation. I didn’t know that just because we go through something in the meeting room, that don’t mean that you just turn your brain off.”

Maryland helped Cowart develop, and he ended up making 38 tackles and three sacks in 2018. Even though he got a second chance at Maryland, Cowart still wound up taking questions from NFL teams regarding his time at Auburn.

“Really, just am I going to take ownership or am I going to point the finger at somebody else — is it this person or that person?” Cowart told Casagrande. “In reality, it was just me. I didn’t have the I.Q. coming out. I was bigger and stronger than everybody. … I didn’t understand that at the time. I’m just thinking, you wake up, practice a little bit and it happened in the game. I didn’t know the preparation that it took to be good on Saturday and Sunday.”

It’s not easy for elite prospects to go from dominating high school ball to being just another talented player on a college roster. The balance college coaches have to have regarding elite prospects from praising them to de-recruiting them is certainly interesting.

It appears, though, that Cowart isn’t hiding about his time at Auburn.