N.C. A&T’s Cohen races into Bears’ backfield
(STATS) – One of the smaller draft prospects came up big Saturday.
Just as running back Tarik Cohen did throughout his career at North Carolina A&T.
The Chicago Bears selected Cohen in the fourth round, with the 119th overall pick. He became A&T’s first draft choice since offensive lineman Junius Coston in 2005 (Green Bay Packers, fifth round).
Cohen was measured at 5-foot-6, 179 pounds at the NFL Combine, but he also was one of the fastest players, running the 40-yard dash in 4.42 seconds.
“This kid is fun to watch,” ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. said. “Lightning quick. Think about a guy who has tremendous versatility. He catches the ball, (will) help out in the return game.”
His home run speed allowed him to set the MEAC’s all-time rushing record with 5,619 yards and score 59 touchdowns. The conference’s first three-time conference offensive player of the year also had 98 career receptions and went 508 straight touches without a fumble (and 530 straight without losing a fumble).
Those factors make Cohen a candidate to play a third-down, change-of-pace role with the Bears, but he says to not let his size fool you.
“People might see me as a small back, so they probably think I’m scared of contact,” he said. “But one thing I like is I’m not scared to lower my shoulder.”
During Cohen’s time in Greensboro, N.C. A&T’s program was transformed to a nationally ranked level. The Aggies had a 35-12 record (24-8 MEAC) the last four seasons, with two conference titles and a win in the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl in 2015.