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June 20, 2012

Cobb brings physicality to Challenge

MORE: Five-Star Challenge | Underclassmen Challenge

Dallas Jackson is the National High School Sports Analyst for Rivals. Email him your questions and comments at DallasJ@Yahoo-Inc.com and follow him on Twitter.

Jamardre Cobb is going to bend the rules a little and it really is that simple.

The Class of 2014 inside linebacker from Los Angeles (Calif.) Salesian is not looking to mix it up with anyone in particular but he has made it clear that at 6 feet 2 and 215 pounds he will be putting his muscle into the equation on the field during the 7-on-7 portion of the Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge.

"You aren't supposed to do it, I know that," he said. "But that is a big part of my game and so I will probably get a little physical out there. I grew up that way and I am a physical person."

He will not be looking to knock anyone to the ground, but he said that knocking players off their route is part of the program.

"It is an advantage if you can re-route someone out there," he said. "It isn't to hurt anyone, not at all, but if you can get into someone's hips and slow them and make them run to different spots it will help.

"You have to learn how to do that and play clean and I was raised to be physical but clean and so that is a big part of my game: contact and physical play."

Cobb will be one of just 20 members of the Class of 2014 participating in the June 22-24 event at Lakewood Stadium in Atlanta. With offers from Colorado, Memphis, Stanford, and Washington State as well as heavy interest from USC and UCLA he knows he belongs there but is still excited to prove his place.

"I am going to play my heart out," he said. "I want to compete and go against the best and this is my chance.

"I know I can do it but I will still have to up my game a little bit. I am going against older kids and I am just a young buck."

Youth will not be used as an excuse for Cobb as he has plenty of confidence on his side. His time on the field has built him on a solid base.

"I started on varsity as a freshman at Cathedral," he said. "I have played at a lot of really good kids on really good teams so I won't be intimidated out there.

"I will be ready to show what I can do and I am excited about the opportunity."

At the IMG West Regional 7-on-7 tournament, Cobb impressed with his coverage skills -- even lining up and covering receivers during the event. It is his ability to play against anyone on the field that makes him believe he will be successful.

"I am comfortable on the football field," he said. "I do want to see if I can get out in space and run with the backs though.

"I am somewhat (nervous) but not too much because I know that I can get into their hips and run with them."

Once he shows that he can be as fast as the backs and as physical as the tight ends he wants to show that he has the hands to complete the package.

"I want an interception, too," Cobb said. "It gets the other guys and the coaches excited. When a linebacker gets a pick it is electric and I want to be that guy."

Mike Farrell's take

It's a down year for linebackers, at least when it comes to depth, in the West for 2013 but will 2014 be better? Cobb is one of those key guys who needs to show he is an elite prospect and this is the event to do it at. He's very aggressive and he likes to get his hands on opponents so I expect him to be one of the more physical underclassmen at the event, but the big question is -- will he be overmatched by the speed of the older players and can he hang? He will need to show he can.

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