3 Things to Know About Tay Gowan Ahead of Week 11

Oct 31, 2021; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Philadelphia Eagles cornerback Tay Gowan (36) reacts after a play during the fourth quarter against the Detroit Lions at Ford Field. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

The Minnesota Vikings made a few last-minute roster moves ahead of their Week 11 game against the Dallas Cowboys. Among these, they signed rookie tight end Nick Muse to the active roster, and they elevated CB Tay Gowan from the practice squad for the first time. We’ve seen Muse a few times this year, so we know what to expect from him.

However, the sophomore CB has not been seen yet for the Vikings. So, with just hours remaining before kickoff, here are three things to know about Tay Gowan.

College Ball

Gowan is best known in the college football universe for his 2019 season with the UCF Knights. Prior to that, though, he played in two other programs. In 2017, he appeared in one game for Miami (OH) and made a single tackle as a RedHawk.

Following that season, Gowan transferred to Butler Community College and played a season of NJCAA ball there. With the Grizzlies, the sophomore proved to be a star at that lower level. He played 11 games and intercepted 6 passes, including a pick-six.

Gowan then transferred to UCF for the 2019 season, and the success he saw with Butler CC continued in the AAC with the Knights. He played 12 games, including UCF’s Gasparilla Bowl victory over Marshall. During 2019, he recorded 31 tackles, a TFL, 8 pass defenses, and 2 interceptions. UCF finished that season 10-3, and they were ranked #24 in the final AP Poll of the year.

However, that would abruptly become Gowan’s final season of college ball. He opted out of the 2020 season due to the COVID pandemic, and he then declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.

2021 NFL Draft

Heading into the 2021 NFL Draft, Tay Gowan was one of my personal favorite cornerbacks from the 2021 Draft class, hence why you’re reading about him right now. When the Vikings signed him to their practice squad in September, I called him one of the “dark-horse” prospects from that class.

Ultimately, Gowan was picked in the sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals, largely due to a combination of opting out of 2020 and limited snaps at the FBS level. Even still, some outlets called him the steal of the draft.

In that lone season with UCF, Gowan allowed a 40% completion rate on his 50 targets, and his combination of length and athleticism makes him an intriguing player regardless of where he landed. At 6’2, 185 pounds, he can cover anyone from wide receivers to tight ends. There certainly was a chance he’d blossom, similarly to how Tariq Woolen has with the Seattle Seahawks.

Quiet Start to NFL Career

Despite all my hype for the cornerback, it doesn’t seem like NFL GMs have listened so far. He didn’t play a single game for the Cardinals before they traded him to the Philadelphia Eagles as part of the Zach Ertz deal.

The Eagles played him in two games, including 44 snaps on defense. He was targeted twice and gave up one catch: an 8-yard touchdown. There were a few nice plays mixed in too, though.

Philly opted not to bring him back in 2022, and the Vikings snatched him for their practice squad. We probably shouldn’t expect to see a multitude of snaps for the CB this week, but there’s always a chance that he gets on the field a couple times as Duke Shelley did last weekend in Buffalo.

No matter what, keep an eye out for #31 on Sunday and root for Tay Gowan along with me.

Josh Frey is a Class of 2020 graduate of The College of Idaho with a bachelor’s degree in Creative Writing. He also earned minors in History, Human Biology, and Journalism. When he’s not writing about the NFL, Josh enjoys marathon training, playing video games, or rooting for the Milwaukee Brewers and Bucks. For more of his opinions, check out his Twitter account: @Freyed_Chicken.