College Sports

How this small rookie running back from NC is already making a big impact in the NFL

Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen, right, runs against the Denver Broncos’ defense on Aug. 10.
Chicago Bears running back Tarik Cohen, right, runs against the Denver Broncos’ defense on Aug. 10. AP

Chicago Bears rookie running back Tarik Cohen, who played at Bunn High School prior to his record-breaking career at North Carolina A&T, continues to prove that he can play.

Despite his small stature (5-6, 179 pounds) Cohen showed enough in the preseason to impress the Bears coaching staff. The rookie not only made the 53-man roster, but he will be the No. 2 running back behind Jordan Howard, the second-year back out of Indiana.

In three preseason games, Cohen rushed 19 times for 121 yards, averaging 6.4 yards a carry. Figuring to be a major contributor in the return game, Cohen returned one punt for 17 yards and one kickoff return for 22 yards.

Selected in the fourth round (119th overall pick) in April’s draft, Cohen was compared to NFL veteran Darren Sproles, who has a similar build (5-6, 190). As the case with Sproles, many around the league wondered if Cohen’s body could take the pounding of the NFL.

Cohen, who played for NC A&T from 2013-16, is the MEAC’s all-time leading rusher, finishing his college career with 5,619 yards and 56 touchdowns.

The Bears host the defending NFC champion Atlanta Falcons Sunday in the season opener.

Jonas Pope IV: 919-419-7001, @JEPopeIV

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