Jeff Cotton was a standout two-year player for the Idaho Vandals after finding his way there after deciding to take the JUCO route out of high school.
As a high school senior in 2015, Cotton recorded 47 catches for 851 yards and five touchdowns and also starred on the school Track & Field team. To better his chances at playing FBS/FCS football, Cotton chose to play a year a Pima Community College where he was a one-year wonder, earning First-Team All-Region and Honorable Mention All-American honors after posting 837 yards and six scores on 43 catches.
Afterwards, he immediately transferred to Idaho where he redshirted his first year on campus. As a third-year sophomore in 2018, Cotton was an instant-impact player for the Vandals as he caught 49 passes for 656 yards and seven touchdowns, good for second, third, and first on the team, respectively.
Cotton saved his best for last as a senior where he posted career-highs in catches (88), yards (1,141), and scored another seven times. He recorded four games of 10+ catches last season, capped off a by 18-catch, 230-yard, two-touchdown outing against Northern Arizona. Against rival Idaho State, he also snagged 10 passes for 192 yards and a score.
Cotton’s size is comparable to second-year receiver Jason Moore who was the lone wideout signed in last year’s UDFA group. At 6’2 and 205 pounds, Cotton is physical through the catch point and consistently gains yards after the catch. In that Idaho State game, his first three catches were on short, five-yard hitch routes and he gain about 40 yards between the three. Near the end of the first quarter, Cotton went up and snagged the ball out of the air between two defenders, with one guy draped on his back, for a huge gain.
#Chargers signed to an UDFA contract WR Jeff Cotton (@jnyce81)— The Field Level (@TheFieldLevel1) May 4, 2020
From the Idaho Vandals. He tore up the Big Sky conference & could make an impact for the Chargers! pic.twitter.com/8nw315PRJC
While it doesn’t look like his speed will help him separate, his ability to come down with the ball helps a ton in the NFL. I liken the ability to what fifth-round pick Joe Reed did plenty of times at Virginia.
He’s certainly got an up-hill battle, especially after the Chargers just drafted two other receivers, but a stash and develop path for Cotton is the likely move with him.