Cotton Picks The Farm

Eric Cotton to Stanford (

Eric Cotton never deviated from taking a pragmatic approach to his recruitment, but for the 6-foot-5, 235-pound tight end prospect from Columbia High School in Nampa, Idaho, the recruiting process didn't take as long as he thought it would. That's because he landed a scholarship offer from a program and a college he couldn't refuse.

"I wasn't really ready to give it out to the media until I talked to coach Walker from Missouri, because they were really interested and I had a really good relationship with," Cotton told Monday afternoon. "I just got off the phone with him, so I'm ready. I gave all of (the coaches) a call yesterday, the day before and today…I called all of them. It's done for me."

"I went down to Stanford, I did really well there and they offered. So I'm actually committed to Stanford."

Cotton, ranked as the No. 69 tight end in the country by, becomes Stanford's sixth commitment for the 2013 recruiting class.

Cotton told Stanford Head Coach David Shaw that while he is still going to Harvard to their camp, he is fully committed to what the Cardinal are doing.

"There's this thing called 'Friday Night Lights', and I went to that. There was a barbecue after that. After the barbecue I went up to coach Shaw. I told him that I'm going to Harvard because I have that booked. But I'm letting you know that I'm committed here. I want to go, I'm going to go to this school - this is my school. So that's how it basically went down."

Stanford has been Tight End University of late, with players like Evan Moore, Austin Gunder, James Dray, Coby Fleener, Zach Ertz and Levine Toilolo rolling through the program and causing havoc to opposing defenses as blockers and receivers. And it appears that Cotton is another big, athletic tight end that can run.

"The whole point of the trip was to interact with the coaches and see where I fit best," said Cotton. "The first day of practice it just felt great there. I felt great competing there and the coaches were awesome. And along with the education and their football program being what it was, it was kind of like a dream.

"Going down to Stanford, they kind of knew me. Coach (Lance) Anderson came to my school during the school year. He talked to me a little bit. They knew I was a pretty good player. I went down there and I was doing really well, running routes really well and doing one-on-ones, beating the guys…just doing really well. Coach Shaw started looking at me. After the first day of practice I got to meet the coaching staff and take a little tour of the campus and see the facilities and stuff. During the second day of the camp, about the second practice of that day, they offered after a water break."

And that's what set the wheels in motion for a verbal commitment the next day.

"Stanford is a great place; it's the best of both worlds," Cotton said. "It has a great education and it's a great football program. So they were definitely high on my list, even though they weren't heavily recruiting me. The first day of practice we started doing tight end individual drills. Coach (Ron) Crook was actually coaching them - the tight ends coach - so I was able to interact with them and he got to see some of my skill set and I was able to prove myself to him. Once I was able to prove myself to him, he asked coach Shaw to keep an eye out for me at the camp. I started to interact with coach Shaw and we kind of clicked.

"They definitely love my ability to run routes and get open. I don't think they are going to change anything they are going to do with their tight ends; they are just excited to have another guy like me in their program."

With a 4.0 GPA, Cotton said he's well on pace to make the typically strenuous Stanford applications process a mere formality. "My testing scores are where they need to be, both the critical reading and the math are above the 500 range, so that's what you need to qualify to get in there," he said. "So my testing scores are at where they need to be. The only other requirements that I need to take this year besides finishing up my core classes are two AP classes, and I'll be scheduling that with my counselors the first day I get back to school, and possibly before that if I can talk with my head coach and coordinate it."

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