The University of Connecticut released a statement today announcing that redshirt sophomore Casey Cochran has played his final football game. After enduring concussions in his youth and high-school career, the Monroe native has taken the advice of the UConn medical staff and input from his family to make the correct decision for his long-term future.
This terrible news ends a promising collegiate football career, and forces a young man to quit playing the game that he loves. Casey Cochran is the son of a well-known Connecticut high-school football coach and has a deep passion for the game. This must have been a very difficult decision to make. Coach Bob Diaco said in the statement that Cochran is interested in pursuing a coaching career and they will be working with him to "accelerate his development in that area".
This is a big blow for UConn Football, with Cochran being one of the most exciting recruits to ever sign with the program. He finished high school early after a decorated football career to enroll at UConn in January of 2012 and begin spring practice with the Huskies. Many believed he would be the quarterback that UConn has been looking for since Dan Orlovsky left in 2004.
While his playing days were few, there were highlights. He received conference All-Academic honors in his two years on the team and set multiple UConn single-game passing records in last season's finale against Memphis.
It was certainly a very interesting news day, a day which left me questioning why I care so much about a bunch of grown men playing a game-- or why society assigns so much importance and fanfare behind their outcomes. While Casey Cochran's news is sad, at least we can feel better knowing that the UConn Athletic Department did the right thing. Concussion concerns always remind me of the curious case of Collin Klein. Just because it's the right thing to do, doesn't mean an NCAA athletic department will do it. Right, Kansas State?
So Chandler Whitmer is our starter going forward and Tim Boyle, the only other quarterback on the roster, will be the back-up. Boyle will almost definitely be on the field this year and possibly even starting down the road.
Whitmer has zero/limited upside, and the goal of Boyle's redshirt was to put daylight between he and Casey Cochran's eligibility. Since that is no longer a concern, I expect the Tim Boyle era to begin in earnest at some point this season. Next year, as a junior, Boyle will be joined by incoming reshman Tyler Davis and transfer Bryant Shirrefs as quarterbacks on the roster.
The Huskies face a well-respected Boise State program on Saturday at noon in Rentschler Field.