Tha Sports Junkies 101

Bears Ink Rookie Running Back Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen Zooma via Flickr


Tarik Cohen Signs Four-Year Contract With Bears

Tarik Cohen signed a four-year contract with the Chicago Bears on May 11th. Chicago selected Cohen with the 119th overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Bunn, North Carolina native attended North Carolina A&T where he majored in sports medicine.

North Carolina A&T Aggies

Freshman – 2013

As a freshman, Tarik appeared in eleven games for the Aggies and made six starts. Cohen had five 100-yard games in 2013, including one 200-yard game. With an average of 118.2 all-purpose yards-per-game, he ranked second in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference. Moreover, Tarik Cohen was ranked nationally at 17th in rushing, 44th in all-purpose, 26th in total rushing yards, and 62nd in rushing touchdowns.

Sophomore – 2014

In his sophomore season, Cohen played in eleven games — missing one game due to a knee injury — as the starter. Tarik’s 1,340 rushing yards were the second-highest single-season total in North Carolina A&T history. He fell just 147 yards shy of Maurice Hicks’ record. With 15 touchdowns, he tied for the second-highest single-season total in school history, three short of Stoney Polite. The 2014 season saw Tarik Cohen rush for more than 100 yards in seven games and more than 200 yards in two. Furthermore, Cohen led the MEAC in several categories; rushing, scoring (96 points), total touchdowns; and was second in all-purpose yards with 143.4 per game. His 6.8 yards-per-carry was third in the nation while ranking 11th in rushing yards per game (121.8), 15th in total rushing yards, and 15th in rushing touchdowns.

Junior – 2015

Tarik started all twelve games for the Aggies in 2015. He had nine 100-yard games as a junior. Only North Carolina, Elon, and South Carolina State were able to contain him to less than 100 rushing yards. Also, he rushed for a career-high 295 yards — and three touchdowns — in the inaugural Air Force Reserve Celebration Bowl against Alcorn State. With 15 rushing touchdowns, he tied his single-season record from 2014. On a school-record 264 carries, Tarik Cohen rushed for 1,534 yards. He led the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference in rushing yards, total points scored, rushing touchdowns, and all-purpose yards.

Senior – 2016

In his final season at North Carolina A&T, Cohen had 1,588 rushing yards on 212 carries. Additionally, he scored 114 points on 19 touchdowns, eighteen rushing and one receiving. Entering the 2016 season, Tarik lacked 641 yards to become the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher and was 969 yards away from becoming the first player in conference history to rush for 5,000 career yards. Ultimately, he ended his college football career with 5,619 yards and was able to accomplish both feats.

2016 Art Rooney Sportsmanship Nominees

Arizona CardinalsDT Calais Campbell
Atlanta FalconsFB Patrick DiMarco
Baltimore RavensG Marshall Yanda
Buffalo BillsDT Kyle Williams
Carolina PanthersTE Greg Olsen
Chicago BearsLB Sam Ancho
Cincinnati BengalsWR A.J. Green
Cleveland BrownsT Joe Thomas
Dallas CowboysCB Brandon Carr
Denver BroncosLB DeMarcus Ware
Detroit LionsS Glover Quinn
Green Bay PackersLB Julius Peppers
Houston TexansLB Brian Cushing
Indianapolis ColtsRB Frank Gore
Jacksonville JaguarsLB Paul Posluszny
Kansas City ChiefsLB Derrick Johnson
Los Angeles RamsDE Robert Quinn
Miami DolphinsT Branden Albert
Minnesota VikingsCB Terrance Newman
New England PatriotsS Devin McCourty
New Orleans SaintsT Zach Strief
New York GiantsWR Victor Cruz
New York JetsWR Brandon Marshall
Oakland RaidersQB Derek Carr
Philadelphia EaglesRB Darren Sproles
Pittsburgh SteelersLB Arthur Moats
San Diego ChargersQB Phillip RIvers
San Francisco 49ersT Joe Staley
Seattle SeahawksWR Tyler Lockett
Tampa Bay BuccaneersDT Gerald McCoy
Tennessee TitansQB Marcus Mariota
Washington RedskinsQB Kirk Cousins

Final Thoughts

There is no arguing the fact that Tarik Cohen is a dynamic player. You do not achieve the level of play that he demonstrated as an Aggie without some measure of God-given talent, dedication, and hard work. As the old saying goes: dynamite comes in small packages. Standing at a mere five-foot-six and weighing in at 175-pounds, Tarik and his stellar playing ability are the embodiment of that phrase. While he knows that he is undersized for a back, Cohen thinks that is going to work in his favor in the NFL, much like Darren Sproles and Tyreek Hill.

“I think it will play a key role in helping me and benefitting me. The linemen are going to be bigger, so it’s really going to be hard for defenders to see me behind my linemen and I can use that to my advantage.”

What he lacks in size, he makes up for in attitude and determination. In fact, it is a driving force for the “Human Joystick,” a nickname given to Tarik for his ability to make cuts that seem impossible, throughout his career.

“I didn’t necessarily want to be bigger, but I wanted to beat the bigger kid. I definitely got a chip on my shoulder. When I was going against the bigger kids I always felt like I had something to prove so I’d always go harder.”

Finally, Tarik Cohen is relentless, gifted, quick, and has excellent field vision. In my opinion, this backflipping, ball catching phenom is going to take the NFL by storm. In case you haven’t had the chance to see what I’m talking about, check out his gymnastic skills!


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