High School: Columbus HS (Miss.)
Junior College: East Mississippi C.C.
Playing on one of the best junior college teams in the country, actually the best, Cockrell was a staple for the Lions’ secondary the past two seasons – helping East Mississippi win a National title in 2013.
The defensive back recorded 33 tackles and three interceptions, returning one INT for a touchdown. Reports out of Columbus, Mississippi were, Cockrell didn’t see much action come his way.
Much like Joe Keels, who was spotlighted yesterday, Cockrell hit campus during spring semester. The hope was to get a jump on the defensive system and try to earn immediate reps.
After 15 practices, Cockrell will enter the fall in a battle with Jonathan Rose for the starting corner spot opposite of Josh Mitchell. He could also find himself trying to earn reps at the NICKEL position behind junior Charles Jackson.
“He surprised me a little bit in terms of having a base of knowledge which was pretty good,” said Nebraska defensive coordinator John Papuchis. “We might call something different, but nothing was foreign to him where he didn’t understand what we were doing. He’s done a nice job and it’s been a pretty easy transition.”
Bo Pelini echoed Papuchis’ thoughts when asked about the junior college transfer.
"I like everything about Byerson Cockrell," said Pelini in the spring. "We have played him at nickel and at corner and I think he has really picked up things well. He competes, he is fast, he can change direction, he is fast and he is physical and plays with an attitude. I like what he does for us. He's going to help us."
BRR projection: Cockrell is talented and was quick to pick things up. We almost expected another Mo Seisay type of situation, but the junior is further ahead in the process at this point.
While he mostly worked with the second-team unit in the spring, he took advantage of first-team reps when he got them.
Jackson appeared to lock up the No. 1 NICKEL spot with his strong play through 15 practices, but Cockrell will definitely at least push Rose on the outside. While we project Rose to win at this point, we also expect Cockrell to see plenty of game time action on Saturdays.
How he ended up in Lincoln:
Nebraska offered him in late November and quickly appeared to be the front-runner after his official visit.