July 25, 2012
Cothren a run-stopper
Parker Cothren fashions himself as a run-stopping defensive end.
And because Purdue said it'd allow him a chance to stay at that position - perhaps with an eye toward 3-4 alignments - the 6-foot-5, 250-pounder chose to commit to the Boilermakers earlier this month.
"Some schools are talking about moving me to offense and trying to make me an offensive tackle," said Cothren, a senior-to-be at Hazel Green High School in Alabama. "And some others are talking about making me go inside on the defensive line. But Purdue talked about how they wanted a big defensive end who could stop the run, and that's what I do best. That's what really made me like them."
It's also what has made Cothren a standout at Hazel Green. Coach Matt Putnam says Cothren's made a strong impact since he started starting as a sophomore, when then teammate T.J. Smith - now an end at Western Kentucky - was playing opposite him.
"People ran at (Smith) instead of Parker when he was a sophomore because they couldn't block him," Putnam said of Cothren.
"He's been a dominant player for us ever since he showed up."
Cothren chose the Boilermakers over a host of smaller-school offers, and interest from Vanderbilt, following a visit to the school earlier this month. It was the Boilermakers' stance on his desired position, along with being a BCS school and strong academics that made Purdue an early frontrunner for the 4.0 student.
"I wanted to go to a big school where they have a good (football) program and Purdue definitely does," Cothren said. "They have a good engineering program and that's what I plan on being. It worked out."
Now, on the eve of his senior season, Cothren is hoping for a big year. He'll play mainly at end, but also could move to nose guard when Hazel Green goes to a three-man front. He'll play a little blocking tight end on offense, as well.
"He's very versatile," said Putnam, who estimated that Cothren could gain 20 pounds easily once he stops playing basketball. "He's big, but athletic and has about a 32-inch vertical jump. He runs about a 5-flat 40, which is not great, but for 250 pounds, it's not bad either."
Purdue, with bevy of upperclassmen on the D-line, is looking to replenish its prospects. And with his July 17 verbal, Cothren became the Boilermakers' third defensive end commitment, joining Randy Gregory and Jake Replogle.
Replogle might be an interior line prospect, as could Cothren, but the later likes the idea of lining up at end with intentions on shutting down the outside running game to his side.
"I try not to ever go backwards, never lose ground and always try to gain ground, never let the runner get by me and always try to make a tackle," he said. "If they do pass, then I can rush the passer."
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