VERMILLION, S.D. (KELO) — The Super Bowl is just three days away and for people in KELOLAND, you may recognize some names, including a former USD standout.
Mount Vernon, Iowa native, Jack Cochrane played five seasons for USD as a linebacker, before being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Kansas City Chiefs.
“He wanted to be a Yote from the day that he left high school and to have him representative of our program, in a game like the Super Bowl, it’s really important,” USD defensive coordinator Travis Johansen said.
Cochrane is now a back-up linebacker for the Chiefs, who plays most of his time on special teams.
“He’s a great leader and I’m sure, even in his role with the Chiefs, that characteristic has come out,” Nielson said.
“I think one of the reasons he’s really successful with those guys right now is, he’s going to understand everything and everything they do and do it at a high level. He’s very detailed and organized. He was a professional while he was here,” Johansen said.
Now, Cochrane and the Chiefs are headed to the Super Bowl.
“I was texting back and forth with him after the championship game. I know it’s all pretty surreal for him even to actually, in his first year in the NFL, be playing in a Super Bowl,” Nielson said.
Cochrane won’t be the only familiar name as he plays against former SDSU and current Eagles tight end, Dallas Goedert.
With names like that in the Super Bowl, it’s a testament to the talent in the Missouri Valley Conference.
“That’s on the table for you when you play in the valley, at anyone of these institutions. You’ve got an opportunity with the resources around you to see your dreams through when playing at that level,” Johansen said.
“You look at the last two or three years and the number of guys that our league has produced, it’s a testimony to the quality of football that is being played in the valley,” Nielson said.