Corey Bender

UNC Football Class of 2017 Signee: ATH C.J. Cotman

Inside Carolina takes a closer look at the Tar Heel signee.

BIO: Four-star prospect who can play a variety of positions • Considered the No. 16 athlete in the country and the No. 38 overall player in Florida by the composite ranking • Member of the ESPN300 • Rated the No. 24 athlete in the country by • Ranked the No. 4 athlete in Florida, No. 15 in the South and No. 32 in the country by • Made 23 catches for 477 yards and eight touchdowns as a senior • On the defensive side of the ball, intercepted two passes and made 48 tackles • Also averaged more than eight yards on 21 rushes, 65 yards on three kick returns, and 20 yards on six punt returns


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RECRUITMENT: In July, Cotman committed to Tennessee over a slew of scholarship offers, including Alabama, Auburn, Clemson, Florida, Florida State, Miami, Michigan, Ohio State, Notre Dame, Oregon, and Virginia Tech. Four months later, he withdrew that pledge. His first move was scheduling and taking an official visit to UNC. He returned from Chapel Hill high on the Heels, but looking towards official visits to Central Florida, Kentucky, Minnesota, and South Florida. A few weeks later, he shut down his recruitment and pledged to UNC.

WHY CAROLINA: “I just really loved it when I went up there. Coach [Chad] Scott, he had a big part of it. I love all the coaches; they show a lot of love. I think it's a good fit for me and I can see myself coming in and making a big impact. Coach Scott, he was at Kentucky at first, but he has been on me forever. He never gave up. And then when he went to North Carolina, he kept it going. We have a real close bond. I like that about Coach Scott. He's a real good person. He tells the truth."

EVALUATION: Cotman is a speedy, dynamic athlete who could conceivably play a few different positions on the college level, just like he did in high school. Cornerback might be his best positional fit, because of his quickness, athleticism, coverage ability, ball skills, and sub-4.4 speed. But, offensive packages could be constructed specifically to take advantage of his skillset.

HS COACH QUOTES: “C.J. is one of the best players in the state of Florida bar none. He’s an electric kid and he played on both sides of the ball for us. When he settles in on the defensive side of the ball, he’s a very quick kid and he’s a fast learner as far as schematics go and I think he’ll definitely play early. I played at the University of Miami from 1999 through 2004, so I played with a lot of fast guys. He’s one of the few high school players I’ve seen that can match up with some of the speed we had there. I tell people all the time, as far as stop and go speed, he’s the closest thing to Santana Moss I’ve ever seen. I told the Carolina coaches that he’s a defensive back by trade, but the more times you can put the ball in his hands the better off you’ll be.” – Chris Harvey, Clearwater Central Catholic

UNC HC LARRY FEDORA QUOTES: "C.J. is a tremendous athlete. He’s a guy that can play on both sides of the ball. Got unbelievable skills. He’s extremely fast. I saw a video of him in the weight room, they had these big tractor tires that were stacked on top of each other and were up above his head. He jumped into the tires and then back out from inside - so he’s very explosive."

INSIDE THE COMMITMENT: C.J. Cotman was the first person to give UNC assistant coach Chad Scott a Christmas present.  … Read the full subscriber-only report

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