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 begins.
"It was a great weekend for me. My host, Chris Rwabukamba, took me around and showed me what it is 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 the various opportunities."
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 has been reaffirmed over the last few weeks during the time leading up to and through the surgery as Cockrell reports 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."
"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."
Cockrell, who will redshirt in 2009, plans to arrive on campus in late June for the summer session.