Exiting high school in 2000, little was known about Jerricho Cotchery. An all-state wideout in Alabama, Cotchery received scant mention from recruiting publications. However, he would go on to have one of the most prolific careers of any wide receiver in NC State history.
The two-time all-ACC first team selection finished his career with team records for most pass receptions (200) and most 100-yard receiving games (15). In all, he tallied 3,119 yards receiving and 21 touchdown receptions. Cotchery has since gone on to become a valuable member of the NY Jets and had a breakout year in 2006-07. He started in all 16 games for the Jets and finished the season with 82 receptions for 961 yards and six touchdowns.
Cotchery was back in Raleigh this past weekend as an invited guest to a player's reunion hosted by NC State head coach Tom O'Brien. Pack Pride caught up with Cotchery for his reaction to the event, thoughts on new head coach Tom O'Brien and his career at NC State.
Pack Pride: Jerricho, how did you come to find out about the player's reunion this weekend?
"Through coach Pate, he was the guy that recruited me all along to get me to NC State. Once the idea came up, he just gave me a call and once he gave me the call I was excited. We haven't had any events like this in the past to see some of the guys I played with and see some of the guys that played before me. It was really a great atmosphere."
Pack Pride: How did the reunion go?
"I had an opportunity to go to the practice and it seemed like all the guys were excited to see us out there to watch them. They had a good practice. It was very spirited. I think that's what this program needs- a lot of guys to come back and support them. The support helps and I think we're headed in the right direction."
Pack Pride: Why do you think there was such a good turnout for the event?
"The reason the turnout was so great is because we still have good relationships. We just didn't have the event like this to come back to. That's why the turnout was so good because it was great to just be back in that family atmosphere again. A lot of the guys, it was just like old times- sitting around, joking, just talking about all the experiences we had throughout our college career."
Pack Pride: Although you didn't play for him, what was your impressions of Tom O'Brien now that you've met him?
"He's a very laid back guy. He seems like he's very to the point of what he wants to do. The way he has these guys, everything is disciplined. A lot of guys are taking heed of that and they seem excited. I feel a new energy around here. The guys seem like they're ready to get this thing rolling."
Pack Pride: Looking back over your career at NC State, what sticks out about your time in Raleigh?
"It's crazy because NC State was the first school to start recruiting me, before any in-state school down in Alabama. That was a great feeling for them to stick with me even with the coaching change from coach O'Cain to coach Amato. I just kept trying to work hard to be able to get a position out there and help the team win. They gave me that opportunity and it just went on from there."