GREEN BAY, Wis. – The Green Bay Packers will have a long snapper competition after all.
Georgia Tech’s Jack Coco, who participated in the team’s rookie minicamp as one of two tryout players at the position, signed with the Packers on Tuesday. Coco was a backup tight end last season for the Yellow Jackets.
Coco joins Steven Wirtel, who replaced Hunter Bradley at midseason and snapped in nine regular-season games. Wirtel also snapped in the playoff game; he was bullied backward on the blocked punt that ruined Green Bay’s season.
Coco is a remarkable story. He arrived at Georgia Tech as a walk-on in 2017. He redshirted his opening season, then handled the Yellow Jackets’ snapping duties on field goals and extra points the next three seasons. According to the school, he did not have a bad snap during that period.
In 2020, he went from long snapper/backup offensive lineman to long snapper/backup tight end and caught four passes for 22 yards. In 2021, he focused only on tight end and added one reception for 4 yards. His only playing time on special teams last season came on kickoff return.
In August 2021, he earned a full scholarship to raucous applause from his teammates during a team meeting.
“It was a complete surprise,” Coco told Rivals afterward. “There was not a doubt in my mind that it was a complete surprise. I’m not going to lie, I’ve worked so hard and knowing how far I’ve come and knowing where I’ve gotten to, I know I still can go way, way, way higher above the threshold I believe I’m at now.
“I didn’t think it was going to come. Coming after the first day of camp, we all go into meetings, we all go into our first meeting, go through compliance and then go into our first team meeting … and they announced I got a full scholarship. … I was completely overwhelmed. It was [a complete] blindside. I feel like I got hit by a Mack Truck. It was absolutely ridiculous. It made it all worthwhile. It tells me that I am doing something right with my life and I’m going in the right direction.”
There is a huge opportunity awaiting Coco after the Packers missed on Bradley, a seventh-round pick in 2018. In ProFootballFocus.com’s grading of long snappers last season, Bradley was the fourth-worst in the league and Wirtel was the third-worst.
Oddly, it’s not as if Green Bay has had a hard time finding competent long snappers. In fact, there are five former Packers long snappers at No. 1 on their teams’ depth charts: the Bengals’ Clark Harris, the Eagles’ Rick Lovato, the Panthers’ J.J. Jansen, the Buccaneers’ Zach Triner and the 49ers’ Taybor Pepper.
Coco will battle Wirtel in hopes of solidifying that spot for new coordinator Rich Bisaccia.
“There are a lot of steps in your life, and there are a lot of goals,” Coco said. “Always having that next goal to achieve helps drive you forward. That’s always how I look at everything.”