Chicago Bears Rookie Spotlight: Tarik Cohen

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BOURBONNAIS, IL - JULY 29: Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen (29) participates in a practice session during the Chicago Bears Training Camp on July 29, 2017 at Olivet Nazarene University in Bourbonnais, Illinois. (Photo by Robin Alam/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

Rookie running back Tarik Cohen caught the eyes of Chicago Bears fans during training camp rather quickly. Several reports out of camp spoke on how much attention this rookie, known as the “Human Joy Stick”, was getting from the crowds who attended the Bears training camp in Bourbanis, Illinois.  Cohen has been tabbed as a fan favorite with his nimble moves and bursts of speed, but, overall, Cohen is mostly unrecognized in the NFL world.

Chicago Bears Rookie Spotlight: Tarik Cohen

Tarik Cohen is a 22 year old rookie from Bunn, North Carolina; a small farming town with a population of less than 400. Cohen attended Bunn High School, a school that drew kids from several areas and currently has 909 in attendance. The Bunn Wildcats have a solid football program and Cohen was able to take advantage of his self proclaimed back yard moves and put up some great numbers for Bunn High School, where, according to maxpreps.com, he played on both sides of the ball, which is not a surprise from a smaller school.  In his senior season Cohen rushed for 808 yards including 252 yards in a single game. He gained all conference honors in football as well as track.

College teams wouldn’t give Cohen a chance

Cohen stands at 5 feet 6 inches and weighs 185 pounds.  This smaller sized running back never seems to attract college football teams and Tarik Cohen was no exception.

Only one college showed interested in Cohen and they just happened to be from his home state of North Carolina.  Apparently the Aggies of North Carolina A&T saw something that other colleges didn’t even take the time to notice because of his size.

Tarik Cohen repaid the Aggies with a lights out college career.  A four year starter, Cohen rushed for 5,619 yards, ran for 56 touchdowns and in his senior season, he averaged a whopping 7.5 yards per carry.  Not only was Cohen the first running back in North Carolina A&T history to rush for over 5000 career yards, he also became the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) all time leading rusher.  Other acolades for Cohen were; 3 time MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, 3 time First-Team all MEAC and many more awards that would take all day to list.  Cohen received national attention from College Sporting News and won the Deacon Jones Trophy in 2016.

During college Cohen also became an internet sensation by displaying his talents on YouTube. Back flip catches became viral, some videos showed him catching two footballs at once while doing a back flip.

Who is this guy?

Tarik Cohen has skills, he has been coined the Human Joystick and yet, no one outside of North Carolina really seems to know who he is.  With all his achievements and obvious talent, he still left Bears fans going “huh” when Chicago drafted Cohen in the fourth round of the 2017 NFL Draft.  Months later, these same fans were cheering him on during training camp.

Cohen has impressed so far in the pre-season with his shifty moves and his ability to make defenders miss him by a mile.   There has to be a place in this Bears offense for Cohen, a player, who has had to prove himself his entire life, a player who runs like a guy who has to continue to prove himself day in and day out. This fuel, along with his oozing confidence is what possesses him to do what he does, make people miss, make people talk and make people respect what this 5 foot 6 inch beast can do for the city of Chicago.

Cohen has been compared to Darren Sproles due to his size, but a good comparison for Tarik Cohen is Matt Forte; simply because the Bears were able to discover a mid round talent that no one else has ever heard of, a talent, that can bring a young team to another level.

Although Jordan Howard has brought the running game up a notch in Chicago, Cohen can be that player that makes the backfield  a force to be reckoned with.

Bears fans, the Human Joystick has landed in Chicago and could very well be the shot in the arm this left-for-dead franchise needs.

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