Big-Time DL Prospect Enjoys Talking to Coker

One of the state's top overall prospects, this talented defensive lineman enjoyed talking with UM Coach Larry Coker recently. He talks about why he likes the Hurricanes and where they're at on his list in this indepth interview.

It seems like just yesterday that I was watching the activities of the NIKE Training Camp last April taking place at the University of Miami. At a camp that featured such stars as Devin Hester, Senorice Moss, and Terrell Walden, I remember saying to myself that rising junior Joe Cohen looked like a Top 5 overall player at the camp. A year later, I watched Cohen dominate his way to becoming the Camp MVP.

At 6-foot-2 ½ and 238 pounds, Cohen ripped off back to back 40-times of 4.47, and shuttle runs of 4.44 and 4.46, displaying a tremendous amount of speed, balance, and explosiveness. He's been using his talents on the football field for years now, even though he has started to see the game in a whole new way recently.

"I've played since I was 11," Cohen said. "But to tell you the truth, Mike, I only started really liking it towards the end of my 10th grade year. I was always playing with older kids, but when I got into 10th grade, I started seeing football differently. I started to really understand it better and have a better idea of what's going on. That's when I really started hitting people and trying to run people over. I just wish Reggie (Nelson, one of the state's hardest hitters and also one of the state's top overall prospects) would actually hit me in practice sometimes (laughing)."

Cohen stays very active throughout the off-season. "I'm always running," he said. "In fact, I'm going to buy me a bike tomorrow and start riding to the beach so I can run in the sand three days a week. Running keeps you in shape and it's something that I've always done to keep my speed up."

Speed, speed, and more speed – Cohen's got plenty of it. He competes in the 100m and 200m events in track and also throws the shot put and discus. In fact, he finished among the top 50 competitors at the Disney Showcase in Orlando for the 200m event two months ago. "I finished in the top half, and I didn't see many other 240 pound kids out there running," he said.

Inside the classroom, Cohen carries a 2.6 core and took the test yesterday. He scored an 800 on the first try, which generally means he'll likely be a full qualifier within a month or so after he gets the results back from this recent test.

Cohen said things were pretty busy around Palm Bay this spring, and it took him by surprise.

"I know we have some really talented players at our school," he said. "But I never expected to get this kind of recruiting attention myself. I just go out and play. I keep saying to myself – do these coaches really think I'm that good?"

Yes, Joe, you're pretty good.

"All three Florida schools called me," he said. "I talked to Coach Larry Coker at Miami and Coach Ron Zook at Florida. Other ones were Georgia, Georgia Tech, LSU, Tennessee, Michigan, Penn State, Nebraska, North Carolina, N.C. State, and South Carolina."

Cohen already has a pretty impressive list of early scholarship offers.

"I've gotten a few offers," he said (getting out a list, in which he keeps track of them with). "Syracuse, Clemson, UCF, LSU, Tennessee, Penn State, Georgia, and Auburn."

So what about the Big 3 in Florida?

"Coach Coker and Zook said they will offer me, but I haven't seen it in writing yet, so I don't believe it just yet," he said. "Florida State also told me I'll be getting a full ride there too."

Cohen said he hasn't even started to think about his early favorites.

"Man, I don't have a clue," he said. "I don't even know if I'm going to stay in-state or leave the state. What I'm going to do is sit back and wait and see which schools are really going to offer me, and then I'll look at which ones have good positions that they're recruiting me at, like the depth chart, the number of players in the League, and stuff like that."

Cohen said he enjoyed talking with Coker.

"He said I'm very high on their list," he said. "That made me feel real good, because Miami's Miami. It doesn't get any better than that. They're telling me defensive end and I know they love speed at Miami. If I look strong at Miami, I can't go wrong."

Cohen said he hasn't decided any favorites among the Big 3 just yet.

"All I know is that I'm going to be watching some big time games this fall," he said. "You can bet I'll be at the Miami/Florida game in September, the Miami/Florida State game in October, and the Florida State/Florida game in November. By then, I'll have a better idea of where I might want to go."

Personally, it sounds like Cohen is very wide open and he says he's more focused on winning a state championship than anything else right now. Palm Bay is loaded and I think they'll make a serious run at it. We'll see what happens, so stay tuned.

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