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Tuesday, January 29, 2013
Coach talk: DE Curtis Cothran

By Josh Moyer

What kind of player is Penn State getting here in Curtis Cothran? And what can fans expect?

NittanyNation turned to one of the people who knows most what Cothran is capable of on the field -- Adam Collachi, his high school coach at Newtown (Pa.) Council Rock North -- and asked what separates him as a player, how he first noticed Cothran's ability and when he especially showcased his potential.

DE Curtis Cothran, Newtown (Pa.) Council Rock North, 3 stars, No. 114 at position
6-foot-5, 240 pounds

Collachi, on what separates Cothran from other players at his position: "I think it's his overall athleticism. He has really long arms -- he's a kid that uses his arms well -- and he plays with good leverage. He's six-foot, five-and-a-half inches and is almost 250 pounds, and he's a great athlete for his size. And it's really his quickness of the ball, too, that helps separate him.

"He runs track in the springtime, and he's worked on his strength and conditioning in the offseason."

When he first knew Cothran would be something special: "I took over the program after Curtis' freshman year, so I was able to watch him play as a freshman, and I knew then he was going to be a special talent. He started both ways from his sophomore year on. And once his sophomore year started, we knew we had someone special.

"He was already big, and he worked really hard. He had a lot of attention to detail and accepted coaching really well. It was those intangibles that let us know we'd have something special here. You'd watch him practice, and you knew this kid had what it takes. I took over the program about this time three years ago and, once we saw him in the weight room and his dedication there, he was just head and shoulders above everybody else. We knew then we needed to focus on this kid."

When Cothran surprised him or really showcased his ability: "I mean, going back to his sophomore year, we had some really outstanding talent that he played against. I remember he went against [four-star OT] J.J. Denman from Pennsbury, who went to Rutgers. He held himself up there as a sophomore, as a puppy, and we knew he'd have a special, bright future.

"His junior year, he would just make some plays. We had a game against Truman, where he was supposed to be blocked and read the guy -- and he literally just clothes-lined the guy. Against Neshaminy, he made a couple one-handed tackles. Guys would be running with the ball full speed, and he stopped them with one arm. You know you have a special player when he can stop people like that."