Steelers 2014 NFL Draft Player Profiles – Duke CB Ross Cockrell
Good friend Dave-Te’ Thomas of Scouting Services has finished his player profiles of several of the top 2014 NFL Draft prospects and over the course of the next few weeks I will be posting the ones that the Pittsburgh Steelers will more than likely have interest in. With Duke cornerback Ross Cockrell now reportedly in Pittsburgh on Tuesday for a pre draft visit, it’s a perfect time to post his profile that was prepared by Thomas, who has done these for the NFL for several years now.
Duke University Blue Devils
Waxhaw, North Carolina
Charlotte Latin High School
Known for their powerhouse basketball program, Duke University has not had much success on the gridiron since they first began competing in the sport during 1888 (would begin a complete schedule in 1920). Since the creation of the NFL Draft in 1936, the team has produced only six Blue Devils have been selected in the first round, with quarterback Dave Brown (in the 1992 supplemental draft by the New York Giants) the last Duke player to earn that distinction.
Just three defensive players from the university earned first round status – linebackers Mike Curtis by the old Baltimore Colts in 1965; Bob Matheson by the Cleveland Browns in 1967 and Mike Junkin, also chosen by the Browns in 1987. Only Curtis garnered much success in the pro ranks, playing in Super Bowl III and V with the Colts and receiving All-Pro honors after both the 1968 and ’69 campaigns.
No Duke cornerback has ever been drafted by a National Football League team. The last Blue Devils defensive back to be selected was Ray Farmer, in the fourth round of the 1996 draft by Philadelphia, but he was quickly shifted to linebacker. The last Duke defensive back to play that position after being drafted by an NFL team was safety Ernie Jackson, taken by New Orleans in the seventh round of the 1972 phase. He played for the Saints from 1972-77, joining Atlanta in 1978 and closed out his career as a member of the Detroit Lions squad in 1979.
The university has seen just one defensive player be drafted since the turn of the century in 2000, as defensive tackle Chris Combs joined the Pittsburgh Steelers as a seventh rounder in 2000, staying with the team until 2002 before moving on to become a member of the Jacksonville Jaguars in 2003. Since that selection, the only other Duke players to complete their careers as Blue Devils and be drafted by an NFL team were offensive tackle Drew Strojny (seventh round by the Giants in 2004), tight end Ben Patrick (seventh round by Phoenix in 2007) and quarterback Sean Renfree (seventh round by Atlanta in 2013).
From what most professional scouts are saying, two-time team defensive captain, Ross Cockrell, will be the next Duke player to hear his name called on draft day. After having been “thrown to the wolves” and inserted into the starting lineup one year removed from knee surgery (injury occurred during his final high school game), the shutdown corner-back has gone on to start every game he has appeared in – 48 contests.
Cockrell’s performance on the field has generated considerable interest in the cornerback, as he is regarded as one of the elite performers in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Blessed with incredible speed, the former prep track star has converted that quickness to the grid-iron, where he has done a remarkable job of shutting down his opponent’s top receiver on a weekly basis. Even though he is a 191-pound athlete, his power behind his hits has seen him also perform as a safety for the Blue Devils, as it has become commonplace to see the veteran cover tight ends while leading a very young secondary.
Since become team captain prior to his junior season, Cockrell has allowed only 25-of-120 passes targeted into his area (20.83%) to be completed. During those twenty-five games, he has defended 33 of those tosses, breaking up 25 attempts while intercepting eight others. Additionally, he rerouted/jammed his coverage assignments away from 56 other tosses (46.67%), delivering 43 third-down stops and four more on fourth-down plays. During that time, those receivers managed a miniscule 2.17 yards per pass attempt, finding the end zone just once.
In 48 games at Duke, Cockrell has placed his name in the school record books. His twelve interceptions rank sixth in Blue Devils annals. His 41 pass deflections and 53 passes defended both established new Duke all-time records and his passes defended figure ranks as the most for any active player in the NCAA Football Bowl Subdivision ranks.
Cockrell has become a “possession killer” for opponents, as he has caused fifteen turn-overs (twelve pass thefts, one forced fumble and one recovery of a blocked punt). He has also been quite effective at forcing his opponents’ punting units on to the field, delivering a total of 99 third-down stops (83 vs. the pass and 16 vs. the ground game) and seven more on fourth-down snaps (six vs. the aerial attack). He has recorded 59 of his 227 tackles inside the red zone, with twelve coming on goal-line snaps. He recorded seven stops-for-loss and took down ball carriers and receivers at the line of scrimmage for no gain on thirteen other plays.
To call Cockrell the “prize” of Duke’s 2009 recruiting class would be an understatement. After his “body of work” at Duke mentioned above, it is puzzling that a consensus three-star prospect (by both Rivals.com and Scout.com) was lightly recruited coming out of North Carolina’s Charlotte Latin High School. Most schools backed away from the two-way standout after he suffered a knee injury that required surgery in his final prep appearance.
At Latin High, Cockrell first lettered in basketball and for the Hawks’ track-&-field team before lettering in football for head coach Larry McNulty during his junior and senior seasons. Despite his late start on the gridiron, he earned Class 3A All-State and All-North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) accolades for each campaign. The two-way performer was rated the 76th-best cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com, as Scout.com ranked him 74th at that position among the country’s prep players.
During his first season on the gridiron, Cockrell helped the Hawks capture their third consecutive state championship in 2007, as the team went undefeated (13-0 record). He finished with 41 receptions for 806 yards (19.66 ypc) and eleven touchdowns as a slot receiver. As a cornerback, he registered 38 tackles, leading the Class 3A ranks with nine interceptions, returning four of those thefts for touchdowns.
As a senior, Cockrell was one of just four starters returning to the Hawks’ unit for the 2008 season. He again scored twice on defense, intercepting three passes while posting 38 tackles for a unit that compiled a 9-3 record. He also pulled down 29 passes for 459 yards (15.83 ypc) and eleven touchdowns. Ironically, all of their losses came when the senior was injured, as he was limited by a hamstring injury throughout the month of October and then suffered knee ligament damage (anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments) in his final game, a 15-0 loss to Charlotte Christian in the state title tilt.
Cockrell added to his Latin High athletic resume as an All-Conference guard for the Hawks’ basketball team, first playing for coach Jerry Faulkner before helping new mentor, Lane Odom, register a 23-7 record in 2007-08. In track, the then 170-pounder helped the squad capture the NCISAA 3A state championship in the 100-meter (11.23), 200-meter (22.45) and 400-meter (48.42) dashes. He was also ran the opening leg on the team’s state championship 4×400-meter relay team (3:35.68) during the 2008 outdoor schedule.
Despite his knee injury, Duke University still pursued Cockrell, who had previously committed to attend the school when he announced his decision on July 30th, 2008. He would spend the 2009 season continuing to recover from his prep injury and was granted a medical hardship.
Coming off a 2009 season that saw the Blue Devils compile a 5-7 record, Duke had lost just five starters on defense to graduation entering the 2010 schedule. Cockrell emerged from fall camp as the team’s starting left cornerback. In twelve games, the red-shirt fresh-man was often tested by opposing quarterbacks, as they targeted his territory 63 times, completing 27 of those attempts (42.86%). He finished sixth on the team with 60 tackles (37 solos), as he deflected seven of those throws and led the squad with three interceptions.
Cockrell admitted being hesitant early in the 2010 season, as he was torched for 207 yards and a touchdown on eight receptions and twice called for pass interference during his first two collegiate appearances. After he was chided by Wake Forest’s Chris Givens after the receiver pulled in a pass for an 81-yard score vs. the rookie, he would hold the opposition to no more than two catches in eight of his final ten games. He would close out the year as a third-team Freshman All-American selection. He also excelled in the class room, adding Academic All-Atlantic Coast Conference recognition.
Not satisfied with his performance, Cockrell worked hard to add bulk and strength to his frame prior to the 2011 schedule. That work ethic would earn the two-time Academic All-ACC choice Sonny Falcone Iron Duke Award honors, given to a Duke player for year-round commitment to strength training and conditioning. He started all eleven games he appeared in, missing the Tulane clash with a leg injury. He appeared in 735 snaps, ranking fourth on the squad with 56 tackles (35 solos), as he intercepted one toss and deflected nine others.
Cockrell was targeted 67 times during the course of the 2011 campaign, limiting his opponents to just 20 completions (29.85%) that averaged only 3.48 yards per attempt. He rerouted/jammed his coverage assignments away from 28 of those throws (41.79%), delivering 23 third-down stops while making ten tackles inside the red zone vs. the aerial game. He also proved to be a “game-saver,” as he came out of his territory to make nine touchdown-saving tackles. On 26 plays made vs. the ground attack, those ball carriers collected a total of 59 yards.
Cockrell was selected one of the squad’s captains prior to the 2012 season, one that saw him emerge as one of the best shutdown cornerbacks in college football. The fourth-year junior was a consensus All-ACC first-team choice and All-American honorable mention. The Academic All-ACC and Academic All-District III selection was the lone bright spot in a very inexperienced secondary that saw the Blue Devils finish 101st among 120 major college teams, allowing 267.62 passing yards per game.
One shudders to think the yardage total the secondary would have allowed without their defensive captain. Cockrell finished third on the team with 71 tackles (47 solos), as he produced his first career sack among four stops behind the line of scrimmage. He became the second player in school history to return a blocked field goal for a touchdown (vs. Florida International) and was on the field for 996 snaps, also seeing action at safety, in addition to his usual cornerback chores.
Cockrell ranked third in the ACC and 12th in the nation with an average of 1.38 passes defended per game, as he broke up thirteen tosses and paced the Blue Devils with five interceptions, tying Virginia Tech’s Antone Exum for the conference title in the pass theft category. The captain had 79 passes targeted into his area, as he had just sixteen of those tosses caught (20.25%) for an average of 2.56 yards per attempt. He rerouted/jammed his assignments away from 32 of those throws (40.51%).
The 2013 All-ACC choice continued to excel throughout his final season. One of five players on the team presently enrolled in graduate school, he started all twelve games that he played in, missing the North Carolina State clash with an ankle sprain, marking only the second time he has missed a game during his Duke career. His twelve pass deflections tied for eighth on the school season-record list and his fifteen passes defended placed 22nd nationally and are seventh-best on the school record chart. He delivered 40 tackles with a sack and gained 19 yards via a trio of interceptions.
Cockrell has started all 48 games that he appeared in for Duke … One of just three players on the present squad to have appeared in at least 3,000 plays (3,457), joining offensive linemen Dave Harding (3,037) and Perry Simmons (3,700) … Second among active Duke players with 227 tackles (148 solos), as he added two sacks and seven stops for losses of 22 yards … His 41 pass deflections not only leads the nation’s active players, but set the new school record, topping the previous mark of 33 by John Talley (2003-06) … His twelve interceptions rank sixth on the school career-record chart, surpassed by John Talley (18), Rich Searl (16; 1969-71), Fred Folger (13; 1946-48), Jerry Barger (13; 1952-54) and Wyatt Smith (13) … His total of 53 passes also set a school all-time mark, topping John Talley (51 total; 18 interceptions and 33 break-ups) … His five interceptions in 2012 rank 11th on Duke’s annual record chart and are the most by a Blue Devil since John Talley had seven pass thefts in 2006. The school season-record is nine interceptions by George Skipworth in 1949 … His thirteen pass deflections as a junior tied Richard Sommers (1978), Wyatt Smith (1988) and Quinton McCracken (1989) for fourth on the school’s annual record list behind Erwin Sampson (15 in 1989), John Talley (14 in 2004) and Matt Daniels (14 in 2011) … His total of eighteen passes defended in 2012 tied Talley (2004) for the second-best total by a Blue Devil in a campaign, surpassed by only Ervin Sampson (19 in 1989) … In the Atlantic Coast Conference, only Robert Williams of North Carolina (23 in 1996), Lloyd Harrison of North Carolina State (23 in 1998), Tay Cody of Florida State (20 in 2000), Domonique Foxworth of Maryland (23 in 2002), Jimmy Williams of Virginia Tech (19 in 2004), Brandon Flowers of Virginia Tech (21 in 2006), Alphonso Smith of Wake Forest (20 in 2008), Merrill Noel of Wake Forest (21 in 2011) and Antone Exum of Virginia Tech (21 in 2012) defended more passes in a season than Cockrell’s 2012 figure … In the 2012 Florida International game, Cockrell became just the second player in school history to return a blocked field goal for a touchdown (75 yards), joining Kenneth Stanford (70 yards vs. North Carolina in 2004).
Cockrell, serving as defensive squad co-captain for the second consecutive season, earned All-Atlantic Coast Conference second-team honors from The NFL Draft Report and the league’s coaches … The Academic All-District III choice and team captain was named to the watch lists for the Lott IMPACT Trophy, Nagurski Trophy (nation’s top defensive player), Thorpe Award (top defensive back in college) and College Football Performance Awards Defensive Back Trophy … The Blue Devils’ second leading active tackler (227), Cockrell continued his string of starting every game he played in at Duke (48), but did miss the North Carolina State clash with an ankle sprain … Ranked 22nd in the nation with fifteen passes defended, which rank tied for seventh on the school season-record chart … His team-high twelve pass deflections also tied for eighth on the Duke annual list, adding three interceptions for 19 yards in returns … Recorded 40 tackles (29 solos), registering his second career sack among two stops-for-loss … Also caused one fumble … The senior’s season began with four tackles and a pass break-up vs. North Carolina Central, as he added six solo tackles with a stop for a 2-yard loss and another pass break-up in the Memphis clash … Picked off a pass vs. Georgia in the end zone and tallied seven tackles (5 solos) with a 3-yard sack vs. Pittsburgh … Followed with five tackles (4 solos) vs. Troy and six stops (5 solos) and a third-down pass deflection vs. Virginia … Sprained his ankle vs. Virginia Tech after registering his second interception for the year and returned two weeks later to deflect a career-high five passes vs. Miami. The only players in school history to post more deflections in a game were Quinton McCracken (six vs. North Carolina State, 1989) and Matt Daniels (six vs. Richmond, 2011) … Broke up two more passes and collected his 12th career interception vs. Wake Forest and posted four tackles while also causing a fumble vs. Florida State in the ACC Championship Game … Closed out his career with six solo tackles and a pass break-up vs. Texas A&M in the Chick fil-A Bowl.
Cockrell was named All-American honorable mention by The NFL Draft Report and Sports Illustrated … Named one of the team’s captains, he received All-Atlantic Coast Conference first-team recognition from the league’s coaches and media … Recipient of the Willis Aldridge Award, given annually to Duke’s most outstanding defensive back … First-team Capital One Academic All-District III choice and for the third season, he earned Academic All-ACC honors … Selected ACC Defensive Back of the Week for his performance vs. North Carolina Central … Started all thirteen games at left cornerback, but was often utilized as a safety, taking on the daunting task of covering tight ends that outweighed him by as much as 100 pounds … Still managed to record a career-high 71 tackles (47 solos), third-best on the team, adding a 5-yard sack and four stops for losses totaling 16 yards … Tied Antone Exum of Virginia Tech for the ACC title and ranked 12th in the nation in passes defended (1.38 pg), as he deflected thirteen tosses and intercepted five others (also tied for the league title with Exum) for 46 yards in returns, including one touchdown … His five pass thefts rank 11th on Duke’s annual record chart and are the most by a Blue Devil since John Talley had seven pass thefts in 2006 (Cockrell also became the first Duke player to lead the ACC in interceptions in a season since Talley in 2006) … His thirteen pass deflections tied Richard Sommers (1978), Wyatt Smith (1988) and Quinton McCracken (1989) for fourth on the school’s annual record list … His total of eighteen passes defended in 2012 tied Talley (2004) for the second-best total by a Blue Devil in a campaign … Became the second player in school history to ever return a blocked field goal for a touchdown (75 yards in the Florida International clash), as Duke recorded five non-offensive touchdowns for the season, joining the 1936, 1937, 1942 and 2009 squads for the second-highest total in a campaign in school annals (the 1994 team recorded six non-offensive scores) … Appeared in 996 defensive snaps, as he allowed just 16-of-79 passes targeted into his area (20.25%) to be completed, good for 194 yards, one touchdown and seven first downs, an average of 12.13 yards per reception and 2.46 yards per attempt … Registered 25 third-down stops and two more on fourth-down snaps in pass coverage, as he rerouted/jammed receivers away from 32-of-79 passes into his area (40.51%), delivering 24 of his tackles inside the red zone, including eight on goal-line plays … Split his four stops-for-loss on pass and run plays, twice taking down ball carriers and once hitting a receiver at the line of scrimmage for no gains … Proved to be a “game-saver,” as he was forced to come out of his assigned area to deliver a total of nineteen touchdown-saving tackles (fourteen on running plays and five vs. the pass) after opponents had managed to break free from other Duke defenders … Made 44 plays vs. the run, limiting his opponent to no touchdowns, two first downs and only 92 yards in positive yardage (2.09 ypc) … Did not allow his opponents to catch any passes in each of the Stanford, Virginia, Virginia Tech and Georgia Tech games and was charged with just one reception in each of the Florida International, Florida State and Miami clashes … Allowed more than two catches in just the Wake Forest contest (four for 31 yards) … In a 46-26 win over Florida International to begin the season, Cockrell scored for the first time during his Blue Devils career, as he returned a blocked field goal 75 yards, along with making four tackles with a pair of pass deflections … Deflected two passes, intercepted another and registered six tackles (4 solos) vs. Stanford … Named the Atlantic Coast Conference Defensive Back of the Week after he intercepted two passes, returning one 32 yards for a touchdown, as he also deflected two other throws, rerouted receivers away from four other pass attempts and delivered six tackles (4 solos) vs. North Carolina Central … Followed with seven tackles (4 solos) that included a stop behind the line of scrimmage, as he also deflected a pass in a 38-14 triumph over Memphis … He continued to climb the school record chart with his 24th career pass break-up, as he delivered six tackles (5 solos) vs. Wake Forest … Registered his eighth career interception and for the sixth consecutive game, he also deflected at least one toss, adding five tackles (3 solos) vs. Virginia … Added eight tackles with a pass break-up vs. Cincinnati in the Belk Bowl.
Cockrell was named one of the team’s captains, as the fourth-year junior was also the recipient of the Sonny Falcone Iron Duke Award, an honor presented annually to one offensive player, one defensive player and one player in the developmental program for their year-round commitment to strength training and conditioning … Added Academic All-ACC accolades … .The left cornerback started eleven games, sitting out the Tulane clash due to a leg injury … Still finished fourth on the team with 56 tackles (35 solos), including one stop for a 2-yard loss … Deflected nine passes and intercepted another, as his total of ten passes defended (0.91 pg) ranked seventh in the conference and 68th in the nation … Was on the field for 735 snaps, as he opponents hit on 20-of-67 passes targeted into his area (29.85%) for 233 yards, averaging 11.65 yards per pass completion and 3.48 yards per attempt … The junior rerouted/jammed his coverage assignments away from 28 of those 67 targeted throws (41.79%), as he recorded 23 third-down hits, including one for a loss, in addition to producing four touchdown-saving tackles vs. the aerial game … Delivered ten of his stops behind the line of scrimmage, including three on goal-line snaps, as he twice took down ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain, adding three third-down hits, along with five more touchdown-saving tackles vs. the rushing attack … Did not allow his coverage assignments to catch any passes in each of the Florida State, Miami and Georgia Tech games, along with limiting his opponents to only one reception in each of the Stanford, Florida International and Virginia contests.
Cockrell started all twelve games during his first season lettering with the varsity, as he garnered second-team Freshman All-American honors from The NFL Draft Report and third-team accolades from Phil Steele (also an honorable mention by College Football News … The All-ACC Freshman Team (Sporting News) choice was also named to the Academic All-ACC squad … Participated in 826 plays, ranking sixth on the team with 60 tackles (37 solos) … Deflected seven passes and led the team with three interceptions for 15 yards in returns … His three thefts tied the school freshman season record that was first established by Wyatt Smith in 1988 … His two interceptions vs. Virginia tied the school freshman game record that John Talley had set vs. Clemson in 2007 … Tied for eighth in the conference (second among freshmen) with ten passes defended … Allowed 27-of-63 passes targeted into his area to be caught (42.86%), as he also rerouted/jammed his coverage assignments away from 23 of those tosses (36.51%), posting three touchdown-saving tackles, seventeen third-down hits and two more on fourth-down snaps vs. the aerial attack … Registered fifteen of his tackles inside the red zone, as he also recorded five touchdown-saving tackles, along with two third-down stops vs. the running game, twice taking down ball carriers at the line of scrimmage for no gain.
Cockrell arrived on the Duke University campus in late June to begin summer sessions, but he did not play as a true freshman, retaining four seasons of eligibility … On the field Cockrell cites head coach David Cutcliffe’s changes to the program as one of the main reasons he picked the Blue Devils over offers from Virginia, Liberty, and others. “The improvement the team showed last year in Coach Cutcliffe’s first year was a big reason for me, but the main one was just the way the coaches conduct themselves. They are always positive and they want to be winners. I want to be a winner as well, and in the end it was just a great fit for me.” … A strong relationship with the coaching staff was reaffirmed over the last few weeks during the time leading up to the player’s November, 2008 surgery as Cockrell reported constant contact with his future coaches. “They came by my school before the surgery just to talk and to wish me the best. They gave me some information about what to expect. After the surgery Coach Cutclffe and his family came by the hospital room to wish me a Merry Christmas and to check on how I was doing. Coach told me to just stay positive and to work hard. I know that it’s going to be a long road. A lot of pain, but I’m ready for that.”
2008 Season … Cockrell played, but was limited by a hamstring injury throughout the month of October during his senior campaign at Charlotte Latin High School … In his last prep appearance, he suffered anterior cruciate ligament and medial collateral ligament damage in his knee during the November 21st state playoff game vs. Charlotte Christian High that would require surgery to repair … “The surgery went well and I am feeling a lot better now,” said Cockrell in a December, 2008 interview. “The doctor was very pleased with how everything went and he said I should be back to 100% if everything continues to heal like it is.” The surgery in question was done at the Duke University Medical Center and was in response to Cockrell’s torn ACL and MCL – suffered during the last weekend in November. Between the surgery and the hit that ended his high school career, Cockrell had chance to visit Duke for his official visit on December 6th. There the coaches and players gave him the standard tour and meetings while also wishing him well as the recovery process began. “It was a great weekend for me. My host, Chris Rwabukamba, took me around and showed me what it is like to be a Duke student and a Duke student- athlete. It was great to see everything that the school can do for you on and off the football field. I’ve thought about majoring in biology, so it was good to see various opportunities. “The first thing to do will be to get some flexibility and mobility back in my leg. After that I’ll start walking and then start working to regain my strength back. With this kind of injury I will lose a lot of strength in my quad so once I’ve got the knee back up I will need to work to get that back as well. In addition I’ve got a regiment the coaches gave me to keep working hard in the weight room on my upper body so I’m going to stay busy.”
2011 Season … Cockrell did not play vs. Tulane (9/24) due to a leg injury, but returned to action the following week vs. Florida International.
2013 Season … Sat out the North Carolina clash after injuring his ankle after picking off a pass vs. Virginia Tech.
4.56 in the 40-yard dash … 1.64 10-yard dash … 2.71 20-yard dash … 4.32 20-yard shuttle … 11.78 60-yard shuttle … 7.28 three-cone drill … 36 ½-inch vertical jump … 10’-2” broad jump … Bench pressed 225 pounds ten times … 29 7/8-inch arm length … 9-inch hands … 73 ¾-inch wingspan.
Cockrell attended Charlotte (N.C.) Latin High School, where he lettered in basketball, foot-ball and track … Competed as a wide receiver and defensive back for Hawks head coach Larry McNulty during his junior and senior campaigns … Despite his late start on the grid-iron, he earned Class 3A All-State and All-North Carolina Independent Schools Athletic Association (NCISAA) accolades during each season on the football field … The two-way performer was rated the 76th-best cornerback in the nation by Rivals.com, as Scout.com ranked him 74th at that position among the country’s prep players … During his first season on the gridiron, Cockrell helped the Hawks capture their third consecutive state champion-ship in 2007, as the team went undefeated (13-0 record). He finished with 41 receptions for 806 yards (19.66 ypc) and eleven touchdowns as a slot receiver. As a cornerback, he registered 38 tackles, leading the Class 3A ranks with nine interceptions, returning four of those thefts for touchdowns … As a senior, Cockrell was one of just four starters returning to the Hawks’ unit for the 2008 season. He again scored twice on defense, intercepting three passes while posting 38 tackles for a unit that compiled a 9-3 record. He also pulled down 29 passes for 459 yards (15.83 ypc) and eleven touchdowns. Ironically, all of their losses came when the senior was injured, as he was limited by a hamstring injury through-out the month of October and then suffered knee ligament damage (anterior cruciate and medial collateral ligaments) in his final game, a 15-0 loss to Charlotte Christian in the state title tilt … Some of his senior season highlights included sparking a 30-point first quarter spark, after he caught a 31-yard touchdown pass from Dave Pearson in a 57-0 season opener victory over East Garton. He was named the Charlotte Observer 1A/Private School Player of the Week after he scored on a 63-yard carry, a 43-yard reception and a 62-yard interception return vs. the Raleigh Titans … In a 20-14 overtime loss to Charlotte Catholic, Cockrell caught a pass, but fumbled it into the end zone. He made up for that miscue when he snared a 17-yard scoring toss with 2:37 left in regulation to send the game into over-time. He added a 13-yard touchdown grab vs. First Presbyterian Day School and had touchdown catches of 10 and 28 yards vs. Country Day School. His 9-yard touchdown reception vs. Raleigh Ravensport helped the Hawks advance to the state title game, but Cockrell would injure his knee in a 15-0 loss to Charlotte Christian … Also earned All-NCISAA Class 3A honors while performing as a guard for the Hawks’ basketball team, where he first played for coach Jerry Faulkner until Lane Odom took over the helm during Cockrell’s junior season … Also excelled in track, where the All-NCISAA selection helped the Hawks capture the NCISAA 3A 2008 state outdoor championship in the 100-meter (11.23), 200-meter (22.45) and 400-meter (48.42) dashes. He was also ran the opening leg on the team’s state championship 4×400-meter relay team (3:35.68) during the 2008 outdoor schedule. That season, he won the 100-meter title (10.88), placing second in the 400 meters (49.16) at the May 8th CISAA Championship, where he also helped the 4×400 relay team finish first with a time of 3:37.33, running the second leg … During the 2007 outdoor track season, he finished second in the 200 meters (23.22) at the NCISAA 3A Championship, as he also ran the opening leg for the 4×100 relay team (44.79) and 4×200 relay squad (1:31.24) that placed second in each event. He also ran the final leg to help the Hawks capture the 4×400 relay title (3:30.16) at the NCISAA meet … At the 2007 CISAA Championship, he finished second in the 400-meter dash (52.54) and guided the 4×100 relay team (44.74) and 4×200 relay unit (1:31.90) to titles in each event, along with placing second in the 4×400 relays (3:32.30).
Cockrell graduated in May, 2013 with a degree in Political Science while also earning a certificate in Markets and Management Studies … Is currently one of five Duke players pursuing a graduate degree (in political science) … Son of Serena and Keith Cockrell … Father played football at Columbia University, lettering in 1983 for a Lions unit that was coached by Robert J. Naso. The team finished with a 1-7-2 record and featured quarter-back John Witkowski, who holds twelve school records and was selected in the sixth round of the 1984 NFL Draft by the Detroit Lions … Born 8/06/91 … Resides in Waxhaw, North Carolina.