[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 visited Mississippi State this past weekend. Here is my interview with him.

James, tell me a little bit about your visit to Mississippi State this past weekend?
"It was a very good visit. I met all of the coaches and a lot of the players that were there. We toured the campus. Overall, I guess you could say it was a typical visit, but I did enjoy it. I am considering going there now."

How did you get to Starkville?
"I drove myself. My mother went with me."

What did your mother say about the visit?
"She said she was impressed with the school also."

What time did you get to Starkville?
"Between 6 and 7 o'clock. The directions they gave me were right to it."

Had you been to Mississippi State prior to your visit?
"No, this was my first time."

Who greeted you when you got to Starkville?
"I was greeted by the O-Line coach, Terry Lewis."

Where did you go from there?
"We went to the hotel where we stayed, then immediately went to the restaurant where we were going to eat dinner."

Who were some of the current players and fellow recruits that you met?
"I met a linebacker named Nate (Jackson). He was one of my hosts. The other host was Eric Thompson. I also met his twin, Derrick."

What kind of fellow did Nate appear to be?
"He was very nice. He was my host the second day. He took me around and I met some of the people who went to the school with him."

Did you meet and get to know any of the other fellow recruits other than the Memphis recruits?
"Other than the Memphis recruits, there was one guy in particular that I kind of hit it off with. His name was Keith Andrews."

Tell me about your experience with Keith?
"Actually our first contact was initiated by our mothers. His mother started talking to my mother. It kind of went from there. Most of the places we went, we were talking to each other. Both of us are interested in the same major, biological science. When we met with our professors, we were together with another player, LaRon Harris."

Did you get to know LaRon a little bit?
"I knew him from competing with him in track and football here in town."

From interacting with the other recruits, did you get a feel as to how they felt about Mississippi State?
"Well, I could tell Keith was interested in the school. I'm not really sure about the others, since I spent a lot of time with he and his mother."

How about telling me about your interview with your position coach.
"My position coach, Coach Lewis, talked to me and my mother. He told me what we would be doing when we first came in. It was very general. He showed me a film of some drills that they do for the offensive line. He stressed the fact that my being 6-6, I would be one of the tallest centers in the SEC. He also said that I would have a strong chance to not only be athletic All-SEC, but academic All-SEC."

What did you think about the basketball game?
"It impressed me how the team didn't give up. A lot of the time they were down big. They weren't intimidated by the big name of the school. They kept playing to the best of their ability and came up with the win at the end."

What visits have you taken prior to your Mississippi State visit?
"I haven't taken another one yet, but I am going to take others. The other ones that I am considering are Vanderbilt and the University of Memphis."

You said it was a good visit. In an imaginary scale of 1 to 10, what would you rate your Mississippi State visit?
"I haven't taken any other visits, but this was an enjoyable visit, so it was at least a 9."

James, keep up the good work. Whatever choice you make, I'm sure it will be a good one. You seem like a fellow who has his head on mighty, mighty straight. I wish you well in whatever you decide to do.

Mrs. Cochran was also interviewed. Here is her portion of the interview.

Mrs. Cochran, I am interested in how the visit to Mississippi State went from a mother's point of view.
"I had not been on a visit before. I think it was very adequate to convince anyone to become a member of their school. I think it was a very good welcome. They did feed us very well. They had coaches available whenever we needed them. If we needed anything, they were there. They were very gracious hosts.

"Not only were they very gracious hosts, but I also liked the way their program was set up for the athletes. They seemed to have a very good handle on trying to get the athletes educated."

What would you say was the single most impressive thing that you learned?
"Their graduation rate for their athletes. And their tutorial program that they have for their athletes was a very big plus for them as far as I am concerned. If you are interested in your son getting his degree and education, you want to make sure the program is set up to assist the student. You want to make sure that they are there to help them choose their classes and to guide them through whatever they need. I think that is important."

I'm not sure what you were doing prior to my talking to you, but I have bent your ear long enough. I appreciate you been so hospitable to me.
"Thank you."

Charles Johnson is a recruiting correspondent for Gene's Page (http://mississippistate.theinsiders.com), the unofficial source for Mississippi State sports on the internet.

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