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Waco product Parrish Cobb set to bring his coverage skills to Oklahoma next season
When it came time to commit, Parrish Cobb could have chosen just about any school in the nation. As a four-star prospect out of the talent-rich state of Texas, he is considered a hot commodity where defensive backs are concerned.
While many believed the 6-foot, 178-pound Cobb would stay at home and lend his talents to Baylor, he had other ideas. And when the time was right to announce his decision, Cobb flipped the script on them and chose to head north on I-35 to Norman.
The Waco native committed to Oklahoma and bolstered what was already a strong 2016 class.
“This recruiting process has been an unbelievable experience! & I'm proud to say I’ve committed to the UNIVERSITY OF OKLAHOMA!” Cobb posted on Twitter back in August.
Along the way, Cobb fielded offers from programs like Arizona State, Arkansas, Baylor, Cincinnati, Houston, Minnesota, Oregon, SMU, TCU, Texas and Wisconsin, just to name a few.
The reason Cobb continually showed up on everybody’s radar can be traced to his overall versatility. Besides being considered an elite player at cornerback for La Vega High, he has also been a top-notch wide receiver.
In the season opener this fall, Cobb hauled in five passes for 170 yards and three touchdowns. And that was just the tip of the iceberg.
“There’s a reason he’s going Oklahoma, I’ll tell you that,” said La Vega head coach Willie Williams after the game. “Parrish can go offensively, he can go defensively and he can go at it on returning punts. He’s a thoroughbred.”
But it’s in the defensive backfield where Cobb is expected to make his name at the next level.
Cobb grabbed the Sooners’ attention when he visited campus back in March. At the time, the prevailing thought was he was going to play somewhere in Texas. He had actually committed to Baylor at one point.
But during his visit to Oklahoma, Cobb and defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks really hit it off.
It was easy to see what Cooks and the Sooner's coaching staff saw in Cobb.
“Cobb displays very good speed with a muscular frame,” said one recruiting analyst. “Measurables are typical for the Defensive Back position. Strong lower half allows him to be very physical when tackling. Fluid athlete with quick feet and hands. He is especially adept at rapid transition when he recognizes the play. He can be disruptive, even from a deep set, as he exhibits the ability to align and respond very quickly. He has natural football instincts.”
Cobb is one of four defensive backs the Sooners have commitments from in their 2016 recruiting class, a group that includes Jordan Parker, Chanse Sylvie and juco corner Maurice Chandler.
The competition for playing time among the newcomers figures to be fierce. And that doesn't even include the returning members of the secondary, guys like Jordan Thomas, Steven Parker, Ahmad Thomas, Dakota Austin and Zack Sanchez.
But Cobb has shown he is not afraid of competition. After his high school went 5-6 during his junior season, the talented two-way star helped lead the Pirates to an undefeated regular season and a shot at a state championship this season.
“We’re approaching it very differently than we did last year. We’ve got more leadership, and we’re working harder than we did last year,” Cobb said before the season began. “We’re not taking any playing from the young guys. We’re still pretty young this year, but we’re not as young. We were playing around a lot last year in practice and taking things not as serious.
“Now, we’re taking it very serious and going hard every play. If we keep doing that, the games will be easy for us.”
At press time, the Pirates were 14-0 and set to play in a state semifinal. In a semifinal win over China Spring, Cobb recorded two interceptions.
During a combine this past summer in Dallas, Cobb was clocked at 4.62 in the 40, a 4.15 shuttle and collected a 32.1-inch vertical leap. So he has all the physical tangibles to be a dynamic cover corner.
However, Cobb's coach says he is not one-dimensional.
“He is not afraid of contact,” said Williams. “He is very physical. He is just not a corner that's just going to cover you man to man. He's going to come up and put head gear on you. He's very strong and loves to mix it up inside.”
Recruiters have noticed the same quality about Cobb.
“He is not shy when it comes to corner run support,” a recruiting analyst said. “He transitions from his pedal very quickly, uses his hands to shed blockers, has the strength to absorb initial shock and the speed to get to the ball carrier and neutralize. Solid form-tackling skills as well. Physical player who displays the speed to run with D-I receivers as well as the aggressive, attack-minded behavior you want in a run support DB.
“He has a frame that can dish it out as well as take it, and he has coverage skills that benefit from his athletic ability.”
Cobb is one of the 92 high school athletes selected from across the country to play in the fifth annual Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl. Players chosen are well-rounded individuals — not just distinguished athletes, but also accomplished academically and who display exemplary moral characteristics.
“(OU) is getting a high character kid. He takes care of his business in the classroom and on the field,” said Williams. “(Parrish) is a leader. I can't say enough about him. The thing that really showed me how great this kid was was during a basketball game. He was up in the stands and he's doing his homework. That's the kind of kid he is. He's very focused.”
Williams pointed to Cobb’s parents and credited them with his work ethic and dedication.
“They really take care of him and they really support him,” the coach added. “That means a lot when you have two parents at home who support you. They’ve committed themselves to give him what he needs to be successful.”
And so far — he’s making the most of that support and his God-given talent.