Trent went on to study criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati, but you should not expect to see him flashing you a badge just yet. He also played football there, and played it well. . The Cincinnati Bearcats knew they had a defensive star in the making, but were not sure what to do with him. He was merely a young man with a well chiseled physique with less than a 7 per cent body fat, prompting a new nickname “Scrap Iron”. And he came to play football.
Trent was red-shirted his first year at Cincinnati, a casualty of “Proposition 48″ – compelling colleges to commit scholarships to non-football athletics. However, in 2002, Trent started nine games, a majority as a 227-pound defensive/nose tackle, registering 86 tackles (40 solos), five sacks, 12 stops for losses, ten pressures and two fumble recoveries. That performance earned him Conference USA Defensive Newcomer of the Year honors. The next year, Trent was moved to defensive end to take advantage of his quickness. Cole responded with an incredible collegiate career, routinely tackling behind the line of scrimmage and setting or pushing close to college records. By 2005, Trent was eager to take his game to the next level, the NFL. Due to his success at Cincinnati, Cole expected to be drafted some time in the first three rounds of the 2005 NFL draft. But he caught pneumonia twice as he was training after his senior season and watched powerlessly as his draft stock plummeted.
“I remember catching it, trying to recover from it, and then I got put in the hospital,” said Cole. “The doctor told me that I was going to get it again in a week or so, and I got it again. It really hurt me, and I went from 260 pounds to 230. I couldn’t perform at the combine. I remember going into the meetings and answering a couple of questions before the coaches would excuse me to go back to the room because I was so sick. I couldn’t even look at them, it was bad.”
But one team did look at him. In exchange for trading James Thrash to the Washington Redskins, the Philadelphia Eagles were sitting at that 146th pick, and in the fifth round, they selected Cincinnati Bearcat defensive end Trent Cole.