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From DakotaDome to NFLPA Bowl Game; Cochrane fights for spot in NFL

Linebacker, Jack Cochrane took the DakotaDome field as a Coyote for the last time on Nov. 27. in the FCS Playoffs against Southern Illinois.

Cochrane’s football career began as a child when he would watch football with his father. He then began playing flag football in elementary school, eventually making his way to tackle football in the fifth grade. 

While attending Mount Vernon High School in Mount Vernon, IA, Cochrane was named a two-time first-team all-state performer. He was also the school’s all-time leading scorer with 406 points. His high school athletic career also included time as a wrestler, baseball player and track and field athlete. 

Over his collegiate career, Cochrane has played in 46 games and accumulated many records and honors. 

During the 2017 season, Cochrane helped to secure the Coyote’s first playoff win against No. 22 Nicholls State University. 

Cochrane was named as a first-team member of the Missouri Valley Football Conference (MVFC) All-Academic team, earned CoSIDA Academic All-District honors and had a single game career-high with 12 tackles in the 2018 season. 

In his first season as team captain in 2019, Cochrane was named second-team all-MVFC honoree, first-team academic all-MVFC selection, was named to the FCS Athletic Directors Association (ADA) Academic All-Star Team and ranked No. 43 nationally in tackles with 106.

Cochrane was the team captain again in the 2020 season where he was also named to the first-team MVFC All-Academic Team pick and FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team. At the end of the 2020 season, Cochrane chose to take his extra year of eligibility due to the NCAA’s COVID-19 rules.

In his last season as a Coyote, Cochrane was a part of the FCS ADA Academic All-Star Team for the third year, received second-team All-America honors from Stats Perform, was part of the CoSIDA Academic All-America second-team, was MVFC Scholar Athlete of the Year and was all-MVFC first-team.

While Cochrane’s last season provided him with many honors and distinctions, he felt that his last season as a Coyote was hard to sum up in words all that it meant to him.

“It’s hard to express some of the words that this program has meant to me, and what this school has meant to me,” Cochrane said. “My best friends, my best mentors have been in this program and to culminate that with what a solid year we had was definitely exciting. As I grow older, I’ll just remember the good things and the people I met and the really exciting experiences that we had.”

Towards the end of his collegiate career in November, Cochrane was invited to play in the NFLPA bowl. This would give him the chance to play against some of the top talent in the country, and do so in front of NFL scouts, Cochrane said. 

“My agent had me really well prepared for what I was going to see (in the NFLPA bowl), and obviously I’ve been training really hard to be in good shape when I got there,” Cochrane said. 

After arriving at the NFLPA bowl game which took place on Jan. 29, Cochrane underwent a few NFL cognitive tests, met his team and coaches and began practicing. Cochrane was a part of the American team and made a total of three tackles in the bowl game. Playing in this NFLPA bowl was the logical first step for anyone who wants a career in football, Cochrane said.

“I’ve been pretty set on playing professional football for a while now and this is just the first part of that process,” Cochrane said. “I will definitely do whatever it takes to be successful at the next level.”

Now, Cochrane is in Miami, FL at a training facility where he is practicing for the pro day tests and the football specific drills he will see when he returns to South Dakota at the end of March for Pro Day. Once he is finished with Pro Day at the university, Cochrane said it’ll be a waiting game until the draft.