[Premium article] James Cochran, who is known affectionately as "Lurch" by both friends and teammates, is a 6-6, 274-lb. 4.8-40 (as a junior) center/defensive tackle who played his football at Memphis-Central High School. James has played football since the 9th grade.

While some folks might question that forty time due to his size, Coach Cate of Central HS mentioned that, "when we run two-forties, he will be first or second. Last year, when we had some very fast folks, he would come in second."

Although his future in sports is on the football field, James keeps busy in the off-season by throwing both the discus and shot-put during the spring. He has among his lists of credits, championship in the city and or district. Add to those activities the fact that he works on the weekends.

Coach Cate talked about James' track abilities. "He throws the shot-put about 50 feet. I believe he is a better discus thrower than shot-put. One of his goals this year is to go to the State Meet."

James' parents monitor his activities very closely and indeed did convince me that they themselves were very capable of cluing me in on his exploits seeing as how he was in bed but not asleep when I called. I gave them the opportunity to hang up but they kindly gave me permission to talk to James.

School is going well for James. He is one who really likes the academic setting and apparently should have no problem qualifying with a 3.8 grade point average and an 18 on his ACT (taken when he was a sophomore). He took the ACT again last Saturday, and plans to take it again if he is not pleased with the score.

James said he prefers the center position to defensive tackle, "because no one can start until I snap the ball; I like to lead."

Coach Cate also feels that center is his best position because. "He played defensive tackle for me but he is not a defender, he is an offensive lineman," Coach Cate said when asked what position he felt he would play in college. "He played center for me last year when we had two backs go over 1,000 yards each. We trap a lot and generally he is blocking a linebacker or backside or strongside. We played Collierville last year in the first round of the playoffs and he did an excellent job. We beat them 18-0 and they were the number one seed in this area and we were the number 8 seed."

College coaches seem to agree with James and Coach Cate and are recruiting him at the center position. "Everyone is recruiting me to play center" James said. "I am hearing from a number of schools, but those recruiting me the hardest are Memphis, Mississippi State and Delta State. Those are schools I will try to visit, along with Vanderbilt because of its academics. I plan to visit Mississippi State on the 4th and 5th of January. I don't know about Memphis yet. Also, coach (Terry) Lewis from Mississippi State may visit me in-home this weekend." James also said that Coach Helton is recruiting him from Memphis.

Stay tuned for additional updates on James.

Charles Johnson is a recruiting correspondent for Gene's Page (, the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet.

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