High School: Columbus (MS)
JUCO: East Mississippi
After 15 intense spring practices in 2014, Cockrell entered fall camp fighting for time in a crowded secondary. An injury to Charles Jackson in early August opened the door for the junior college transfer to be the Huskers’ starting nickel – a package former head coach Bo Pelini turned to often. Cockrell used the opportunity to make a huge impact.
During the spring, the senior worked with Nate Gerry as a starting safety, but also played nickel when the Huskers used the formation.
"I'm open for anything,” said Cockrell, who was recruited to Nebraska as a corner under the previous staff. “If I got to play safety for the team, I'm going to do what they need me to do."
BRR projection: While the secondary is loaded with talent once again in 2015, Cockrell’s six starts last year and major junior college experience (National Champion) should give him the edge to run with the first-team.
The bigger question is who will be the safety opposite of Gerry when Cockrell is used in the nickel package.
How he ended up in Lincoln:
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.
Nebraska offered him in late November and quickly appeared to be the front-runner after his official visit.