As one of the newest University of Cincinnati football verbal commitments, C.J. Cobb was a hard young man to reach. But with a little luck and a couple of phone calls the surprise commitment was eager to talk about his football recruiting and why he closed the door on other program so fast.
Before making his verbal commitment C.J. Cobb wasn't known by many who follow recruiting across the country. But while those who work to know about as many of this countries top football talents may have left Cobb under the radar, college program like Bowling Green, Central Florida, Maryland, Clemson and South Carolina knew all about the 6'4 310 lb. former basketball player turned offensive lineman hidden away in Jacksonville, Florida.
For Cobb, football is still a new game taken up late in life. "I thought basketball was going to be my way to college. I didn't play football until my freshman year and I keep working to get better each day."
But while the game is still new, Cobb has learned fast and excelled at his Jacksonville High School (Sandalwood) to a point were coaches moved him from defense to offense from the left side to the right side of the offensive line. "I was a defensive tackle my freshman year. They then moved me to offensive line and I played on both the right and left side of the line. By my junior year I was the starting left tackle and this year I played right tackle. I can play both guard and tackle."
So how did the Bearcats staff get such an early commitment from Cobb? "Coach Hinton recruited me and I found it east to get along with him. He's a great guy and very energetic and I really liked that about him."
When asked about his thoughts on Bearcats Head Coach Mark Dantonio, Cobb was quick to respond. "I get the sense that he is very honest and is going to be up front with everyone. He doesn't treat you like a kid; he treats you like a young man. He earns your respect from the time you first meet him."
But while Cobb enjoyed both of the Bearcats coaches, there were other factors in his choice of the Bearcats program. "I loved my visit!" I love the city and being near a pro team like the Bengals, I like the campus and the people I meet while I was there. I also liked the dorm rooms at UC."
As for what the Bearcat coaches have told Cobb about playing time. "I've been told that I could redshirt my freshman year. But if I do the work needed and can show them I'm ready to play, they won't hold me back."
When talk switched back to his ability on the field, Cobb talked about staying low and learning a better punch as areas he needs to work on the most. "I'm not too bad at staying low, but as the game goes on I think I get tired and then I get high on some plays, so I need to work on that the most."
As with one of the other new verbal commitments Jason Whitehead, the question came up about leaving the sunshine state and heading north. "I know it will be kind of hard. There are going to be several changes but I get a feel about places and I have a great feeling about Cincinnati."
"When I came on my visit there was snow on the ground and it gets a big colder up there, but that is stuff you can get use to. One thing I really like about my visit that sold me on Cincinnati was getting the chance to meet my host father. I come for a family that is very close and I had the chance to meet the father of Khalil El-Amin during my visit. We had a few minutes and went over to Khalil's home so he could get something, while there I got to really spend some time with his dad and came away feeling if I needed someone to talk to I could go and talk with a man like him."
When the subject of why he felt UC was the right place for him, Cobb spoke of the Big East. "The Big East is a great conference that will allow me to compete against some of the best in the country. I also liked what I saw from the out of conference schedule with teams like Virginia Tech and Ohio State. To be able to play against Pittsburgh, Louisville and West Virginia each year will help make me a better player. It also means many of our games will be on television and that my folks will have a chance to see me play often."
As our conversation went from UC to football in general, the topic of high school football in Florida and Ohio came up. So I asked CJ about Florida High School Football and what he felt was the difference. "The speed, down here if a player can get outside on the edge he's almost always going to take it for a touchdown. The speed is the biggest difference." But while on the subject CJ spoke about blocking for his former Sandalwood teammate and now Ohio State running back Maurice Wells. "Maurice was one of those players. I would be working on getting a great block and lookup and see Maurice already down the field getting ready to score."
I always try and learn about players away from the field. When I asked CJ to talk about what he enjoys doing he responded the way most teenagers do. "I'm just a regular teen. I like video games, watching television and playing video games."
When I asked what his favorite food was, CJ asked the following. "Does the buffet count as a food? I'm a lineman and enjoy all kinds of food."
When asked what Bearcat fans can expect from him, CJ was quick and used only two words. "Hard worker! I'm a very hard worker."
As we wrapped up our interview we covered a few other subjects. At this time CJ doesn't know if he'll be able to make the trip up for the spring game. He thinks he'll try and report in June to get a head start on both his academics and also his work in a college weight room. He loved Varsity Village and had a chance to tour the facility while on his visit in December. On his foot speed CJ stated he runs a 5.1-5.2 40 now at his present weight.
I would like to thank CJ for talking with Bearcat Insider about his commitment and future as a Bearcat. We'll catch up with him in a couple of weeks as signing day gets closer.