Josh Cochran: Texas 2011 Recruiting Spotlight

Vitals

Name: Josh Cochran

Position: OL

Height: 6-6

Weight: 280

Speed: N/A

High School: Hallsville

Rating (Rivals): Four out of five (5.8)

Overview/Recruitment

One of 13 prospects to commit on JD1 in February of 2010, Cochran had Texas as a favorite all along and committed on the spot when he received his offer in Mack Brown's office. Like many of the his fellow commits on that day, Cochran is a lifetime Longhorn fan. His recruitment basically amounted to waiting for his Texas offer.

A fast-rising prospect at the time of his commitment, Cochran not only attended the Texas summer camp prior to his junior season -- the only opportunity prospects have to work out with Longhorn coaches before the Junior Days -- but also attended each of the Texas home games in 2009, a trip of more than five hours one way from his East Texas hometown. Definitely a lifetime Longhorn.

Quotes:

On his feelings for Texas ($):

This is something that I've always dreamed of. I've dreamed of growing up to be a Longhorn. My family has always been Longhorn fans. It's something I've always wanted to do. I look forward to playing under Mack Brown, Mac McWhorter and the entire coaching staff. I'm honored to get this opportunity.

On how he felt after making his decision:

It's a huge relief. Now I don't have the whole pressure of recruiting. Now I can focus on football, helping our team win as many games as possible. It's a huge relief to know that's the place where I've always wanted to go.

On the family atmosphere:

Probably the one thing that stands out is what the coaches always talk about - it's really a family atmosphere. The relationship the coaches have with the players, it's like a big family. It's something I've always wanted to be a part of.

Offers

  • Texas (committed 2/13/2010)
  • Arkansas
  • Houston
  • SMU
  • TCU
  • Texas A&M
  • Texas Tech

Scouting Report

The positives from Jeff Howe ($):

At the point of attack Cochran doesn’t mess around and he shows tremendous aggressiveness. Once he locks on to a defender his goal is to get his man on his back as quickly as possible. With his 6-6 frame he towers over people and he’s got no problem with driving people into the ground.

 

For being a big, athletic tackle he’s a really good finisher and is a good one-on-one blocker in both his run and pass blocking. He’s not going to stop until his guy is either on his back or until the whistle blows. In addition to being aggressive he’s a max effort player.

 

In pass blocking he does a great job at being able to defend the oncoming rusher’s counter move. Part of it is because of his athletic ability, but his sets in pass protection are really good and he shows good weight distribution and doesn’t get knocked off of his base easily.

 

His hands are really active and when he shoots them quickly he can really cause fits for a defender. I also like how his feet are constantly chopping and all of these traits show why he didn’t give up a sack as a junior despite playing against some pretty good pass rushers in East Texas.


Strengths

  • Attitude -- It takes a tough, nasty mindset to be an outstanding run blocker and though Cochran looks like a nice kid and probably is off the field, when he's between the lines, he turns into a mauler in the running game.
  • Run blocking -- His attitude feeds his motor, so Cochran does a good job of finishing blocks -- when he gets his hands on opponents, he's willing to keep his legs driving to plant them into the ground. His Rivals video ($) is almost entirely four minutes of Cochran burying opponents and I think he might have killed some poor little safety who was trying to run the alley and ran into Cochran instead.
  • Playing in space -- Since he is a big, athletic kid, Cochran has the feet to get to the second level or pull around the edge on counter plays and get his hands on defenders.

Weaknesses

  • Strength -- Cochran's Rivals page lists his bench press max at 280. By comparison, fellow Texas commit Garrett Greenlea reports maxing out at 400 pounds. Basically, that's just another way of saying that he has a long way to go in terms of developing the upper body strength to benefit his aggression in the running game.
  • Pass protection technique -- He's got the physical tools to play outside in college, but has some technical issues he needs to correct. At times he can cross his feet on his pass sets and he doesn't always use his hands well enough to keep defenders out of his body.
  • Pad level -- The taller the lineman, the more difficult it is to maintain ideal pad level and Cochran is no exception when he comes off the ball to run block and at times it costs him his leverage and the ability to quickly overwhelm opponents in high school -- he probably has to use his high-level motor more than he would with better pad level.

Target Weight -- 310-320 pounds. As Jeff Howe mentioned, Cochran carries his weight extremely well and looks lean enough to be well under his actual weight. Basically, the kid has a massive amount of room left on his frame and Howe believes could reach 320 pounds without sacrificing his ability to move or adding much bad weight. 

Verdict

Cochran has a ways to go physically to contribute at the next level -- his Rivals page lists his bench max at 280, which isn't particularly impressive, though it's hard to tell how recently that was the case. However, he's absolutely vital to this class and to the program's future becauase he's the only one of the five 2011 OL commits who looks like a true left tackle prospect, perhaps the biggest need Texas has at the moment.

That simple fact alone is enough to make him extremely valuable to the class, but melding together his feet, frame, and attitude produces a prospect who doesn't rate as among the best in the country because he doesn't have the strength or technique. All the tools are there, Stacy Searels and Bennie Wylie just have to come together to mold them and if that's successful, Texas is looking at a guy who could start at left tackle and play at a high level there for at least two seasons. And as the current search proves and a look at teams around the NFL on Sundays as quarterbacks get mauled by edge rushers proves, good left tackles are hard to come by at any level of the sport.

Impact ETA: 2014. A redshirt season is a certainty for Cochran and the question then becomes how quickly he can address his deficits in technique and strength. The thought here is that he begins to contribute as a back-up in 2013 and becomes the starter in 2014 when Paden Kelley graduates.

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