Already capped 13 times by England including three matches of this year's RBS 6 Nations, Tuilagi has received glowing praise from the Tigers coaching staff and with slight tinkering to his game, Cockerill feels he can fulfil his potential to be England's focal attacking point in the future.
He said: "Manu has had his criticism but, within our structure, he has been really good.
"He gets opportunities to run with the ball and his ability to create something from nothing is as good as ever.
"He is quality and is still very young. Myself, Matt O'Connor (Leicester Tigers coach) and everyone here thinks he is going to be around the best No.13 in world rugby within the next 12 months or so.
"We are delighted to have him here, he is a quality player. He needs to keep playing and further understand when to hold on and when to pass it; when to be tighter in defence and when to be a little bit more passive - but that will come.
"He is quality and we have some real firepower out there in the backs."