Tuscaloosa (Ala.) Central High School’s field is only a few blocks away from the University of Alabama and Bryant-Denny Stadium. In fact, one could even see the massive complex from the Falcons’ field.
Despite those facts, the school’s standout football prospect and Crimson Tide commitment Lester Cotton had never been to an Iron Bowl game until Saturday’s record-breaking contest.
“It being my first Iron Bowl game, it was real,” he said. “It was wild; I was excited to see the fans like that. They knew how much that game meant, both fan bases did.
“I actually expected both offenses to put up a lot of points. They (Auburn) have a good offense, a good quarterback and running back. But Alabama’s offense is clutch, they make plays when they need it. I knew that in the fourth quarter, everything was going to be alright.”
The annual game is the last football contest to be played at the stadium Cotton has seen so many times before he can officially begin playing on it, with his beloved Crimson Tide.
“I’ve been thinking about it for the longest, it made me so excited because I saw how they were playing, how every position was playing,” he said. “I want to put that crimson and white on, I’m ready. All of us are.
“I talked to a lot of other commits… they talk about being ready, ready to keep the tradition going and keep the winning going and stuff. Everybody wants it.”
The massive group of future Alabama play-makers included Blake Barnett, Deionte Thompson, Dallas Warmack and Mekhi Brown, named by Cotton. In addition to pondering the future together, there was plenty of talk about adding to their numbers within the class of 2015.
But the pitch isn’t of the sugar-coated variety.
“Everybody was just together, we were talking to the ones that were uncommitted,” he said. “We weren’t letting them know that they could come in and get handed things. We let them know that we mean business and we’re ready to work.”
Any time Cotton talks about recruiting others, five-star defensive tackle Daron Payne is brought up. The state’s top prospect was at the game and the two went back and fourth.
“We actually sat beside each other,” he said. “I know he was watching his top teams, but I let him know that this is the game where he needs to decide where he needs to be. To look at the heart of both (teams) and see who wants it more. When the game first started, he was turnt (up), he was hyped. When ‘Bama first scored, I looked back at him like, ‘what are you going to do?’
“He just smiled.”
Cotton, who is a Scout four-star prospect and the network’s No. 79 overall senior, is still being looked at as a versatile offensive line prospect by Alabama’s staff. He can play on the interior or even at tackle beginning next fall.
Scout Spotlight: Lester Cotton