Torry Holt may have been flashier and Koren Robinson may have been quicker, but no receiver in the history of NC State football was more productive than Birmingham (AL) standout Jerricho Cotchery.
As the 2000 signing day approached you could have checked virtually every national recruiting publication and odds are, you wouldn’t have found Jerricho Cotchery listed anywhere. Despite a tremendous season that saw Cotchery haul in 39 passes for 1,008 yards en route to all-metro and all-state honors, he was barely a blip on the recruiting radar. However, then-Wolfpack assistant Joe Pate picked up on the sleeper wideout and stayed with him even through the transition from head coach Mike O’Cain to newly hired Chuck Amato.
Cotchery talked with Pack Pride in a previous interview about the Wolfpack’s early interest.
“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.”
Teaming up with all-american QB Philip Rivers, Cotchery became one of the ACC’s top route runners with an incredible knack for finding open spots on the field. He more than made up for his relative lack of speed with incredible focus and knowledge of the wide receiver position. When all was said and done, Cotchery had one of the most impressive wideout resumes of any Wolfpack player ever.
His 200 career receptions are the best ever by an NC State player and put him nine catches ahead of Torry Holt. This stat is even more amazing when you consider he had just six catches as a freshman. Cotchery and Florida State’s Peter Warrick are the only two wide receivers in ACC history to record both 200 catches and better than 3,000 yards receiving. Cotchery’s 3,119 career receiving yards are second only to Holt. He holds the record for most games with a reception (39) and has two of the Pack’s top four season receiving totals ever (2003 and 2003). Cotchery also holds the record for most 100-yard receiving games in NC State history with 15 and his 21 career touchdowns are second only to Holt.
Cotchery would quietly be selected in the fourth round of 2004's NFL draft by the NY Jets. Just like with his high school and college careers, the unassuming, ever-humble Cotchery has grown into one of the NFL’s most dependable receivers. Never flashy and never one to talk on the field, Cotchery has amassed 278 receptions for 3,545 yards and 14 touchdowns through five-plus seasons as a pro.