Buried deep in southern Arkansas is a small piece of land called Bradley County. Despite having just one city, and a total population of less than 15,000 people, this county has a high school which is becoming a football factory for the University of Arkansas.
Warren, Arkansas has just over 6,000 people in the city but the local high school has produced current Razorback stars Greg Childs, Jarius Wright and Chris Gragg.
The Warren Lumberjacks are not done producing Razorbacks just yet. Their newest star receiver and Four-star recruit, Jalen Cobb, became the first verbal of the season for Arkansas’s 2012 recruiting class.
Cobb has come a long way since serving as the water-boy for the above players in middle school.
As I studied the game film of the 6’ 1" and 185 pound Cobb, the first thing I noticed is he has good speed but great acceleration. There are few recruits in this year’s class that can accelerate off of the line as quickly as Cobb. This is one of the most underrated aspects of playing the receiver position.
There might be players who are faster (4.5 forty) than Cobb, but there are few who can get to their top speed quicker.
The next thing that impressed me about Cobb was his ability to stop on a dime, and then be right back in full stride. When Cobb makes a cut, he seems to be back to top speed in just a matter of a few yards. This factor alone will make him dangerous in the seven to 13 yard reception range immediately.
With work he could become a solid deep threat as well. Look for the Razorbacks to use his abilities in the short-to-intermediate passing game to setup variations of the hitch-and-go.
Though Cobb does not have overwhelming size, he could become an elite blocker in Coach Petrino’s system. When he comes off the line he is like a bullet out of a gun. As a result, he is able to get to the defensive back before the defender is able to read if the play is a run or a pass.
Cobb improved his route running immensely over the summer, but how he gets position on the defender when the ball is in the air is even more impressive. You can tell he has been well coached, because, when the ball is in the air, he has already gained position and attacks the ball away from his body.
Despite only being 6’ 1" his vertical leap and positioning helps him to play like he is 6’ 3" to 6’ 4" in the red zone.
He needs to get stronger physically, but could easily hold another 15 to 20 pounds on his frame. He also needs to be careful not to use his elite acceleration before he has brought the ball in. On a few occasions he tried to make a move without completely having the ball, resulting in an incomplete, but overall has very good hands.
I believe Cobb will receive playing time during his freshman season. He should have a minimum of 200 yards his freshman season and build upon that every season after that.
Cobb has a large range where his career could fall. He could always be a No. 3 to No. 4 option or he could become an All-SEC player by the end of his career.
Because of his relationship with Childs and Wright, and his desire to learn from their experiences, I am betting he will be closer to the latter than the first. There is the natural tendency to compare Cobb to Childs and Wright. However, he reminds me more of Chad Bumphis at this point in his career.