Cochrane played junior football for the Regina Rams of the Canadian Junior Football League. He was named PJFC Outstanding Offensive Back and Rookie of the Year in 1982. He was also named PJFC Most Valuable Player, Outstanding Offensive Back and CJFL Outstanding Offensive Player in 1983.
Cochrane played CIS football for the UBC Thunderbirds. He was named MVP of the CIAU Central Bowl and helped the Thunderbirds win the 22nd Vanier Cup in 1986 after returning for his final year of CIS eligibility following his being drafted by the Calgary Stampeders of the CFL.