Owens, who chose WVU over offers from Georgia Tech, Cincinnati, Iowa State, North Carolina State, Virginia, Wake Forest and Wisconsin, has the pass rushing skills and burst off the edge that is vital for a defensive end in the Big 12.
Owens is rated as the #55 defensive tackle in the nation and a three-star prospect by Scout.com. He is the ninth commitment in West Virginia's football recruiting Class of 2014.
What to Like: West Virginia has been searching for its first defensive end recruit for the 2014 class and it found one in the Florida native. Owens is an athletic prospect, with excellent quickness off the ball. His ability to get off the line of scrimmage is electric. He uses a combination of speed and strength to gain an advantage on the edge against offensive lineman. A proven pass rusher, Owens has the ability to get to the quarterback, but he’s not a one-trick pony. He recorded more than 80 tackles during his junior season, and tracks the ball well form his defensive end spot.
Another area where Owens excels is confidence -- an area he's not lacking in.
"I can go get the quarterback," Owens recently told FOXSportsNEXT. "I can get people and find the ball."
Although he’s not yet in the 260-pound range, Owens is a true defensive end, who has grown up in the spot. He tackles well and can chase down plays from the back side, and shows a good swim move to rid himself of pass blockers, and has good awareness when teams try to catch him rushing upfield with draws and delays.
What To Be Concerned With: While Owens has speed and athleticism, he needs to refine his technique. Often times he appears to use his sheer talent level to overcome his competition. While that’s not a bad thing, at the college level, he’ll have to learn to combine his natural talents with good handwork and positioning to be a force at defensive end. Also, he’s not going to overpower anyone at his current size, but with his 6-4 frame he certainly has the ability to put on weight.
While he might transition into a defensive tackle in some systems, West Virginia’s revamped 3-4 scheme likely keeps him as a defensive end during at least the early part of his career, because he’s not likely to get to the 290-pound range needed to be an effective nose. That’s not necessarily a negative, but it means that he will have to ply his trade at one of the two defensive end spot in Keith Patterson’s system
Overall Analysis: While the wait for a defensive end likely took longer that some fans wanted, rest assured that the Mountaineer coaching staff felt it was well worth the wait. Owens has the potential to make an impact at a position that is critical in the Big 12 conference. Pass rushers and edge disruptors are vital for any defense hoping to slow the onslaught of Big 12 offenses, and Owens appears to have the skill set to be just that sort of player for the Mountaineers.
Whether or not Owens can be a first-year contributor remains to be seen, but there is not much doubt that WVU has snared a player with the ability to fill all the roles a defensive end must in the 3-4 scheme. If he continues to improve at the rate he did during his junior season, the rising Florida star could be a Mountaineer standout as the decade reaches the halfway point.