Success has been a group effort

Jake Cotton has been on board to be a Husker for a while. The fact of the matter is, Lincoln (Nebr.) Southeast was making a run at the playoffs and the last thing that Cotton wanted to do was add any distractions to his season and this team's season. That time wasn't about him. And even when it is his time with a public announcement, he is quick to credit his team mates for his success.

It's taken a little while for the story of Jake Cotton to go public, but there is a reason for that. Cotton informed Big Red Report today that he actually committed to Nebraska closer to the middle of the season.

"I got the offer from Nebraska around week six," Jake Cotton said. "I think that was about midway through the season. I committed to Nebraska maybe a little later in that same week."

The reason the story didn't hit the public was Cotton's request. At the time of the commitment, Lincoln (Nebr.) Southeast and Cotton were in the middle of the season and making a run at a title.

"I really didn't want to create a distraction for me or for my team. We were in the middle of a season and we were making a run at the playoffs. Now that my season is over it's better."

Cotton has really taken off. At around 250 to 260 pounds currently, Cotton says that he was closer to 200 pounds last year. It was a lot of hard work, but it was also a lot of pain from an injury that he suffered in the middle of the hard work.

"I was around 205 pounds last season and played tight end and defensive end. I put on around 50 pounds, actually maybe more than 50 pounds, from last season to this season.

"I was working hard and suffered an injury. At first, we thought that it was a hamstring tear that actually pulled the muscle away from the bone, but we later discovered that it was a stress fracture on my pelvis."

The injury to his pelvis isn't all that common and it is as painful as it sounds. Cotton lost a good deal of his offseason workout time through the winter trying to rehabilitate and rest the injury.

"It is a little rare. My doctor said that he had never seen it before. I couldn't run or leg lift all winter. When I injured it was really because of me going heavy on some lunges and doing a lot of reps."

The big push to get bigger and better wasn't just made by Cotton. A lot of the Southeast players got together and wanted more this season. Cotton credits them for pushing him.

"After last season, me and a lot of my team mates really challenged each other to get better personally and as a team. I really owe them a lot for my individual success."

While many are thinking that a "Cotton" will inevitably end up on offense, don't be so sure. Jake knows that position is up in the air a little bit, but defense has always suited him better than offense.

"I don't know if it will be as a defensive end or at defensive tackle, but I don't care which one it will be. I have always been drawn to the defensive side of the ball, it's just my personality.

"I know that this isn't inline with what my dad or my brother have played or are playing, but this is really the side of the ball and the positions that fit me best."

The fact that Cotton is being considered as an interior lineman on the defensive side of the ball is the result of him being a team player. An injury forced Cotton inside and after Nebraska had seen him at end and tackle, he thinks that they are OK with both positions for him in college.

"We suffered an injury at the nose tackle position which moved me in from the defensive end position. I really was more of a three technique than a one technique.

"At camp this summer at Nebraska I was practicing as a defensive end. That is where they liked me initially. After seeing me move inside this season, I think that they like me there too."

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