C.J. Cotman's connection to someone he knows and trust led to his his verbally committing to Tennessee on Wednesday night.
A first-year Tennessee assistant coach has been all over the Central Catholic (Fla.) High School two-way athlete for "probably a year" and was the main reason the Big Orange was the pick.
"Mainly because of coach Larry Scott," Cotman told InsideTennessee. "He's a good dude, and he never gave up even when he left Miami. He always stayed on my trail, and I appreciate that. I like what they do at that school. I'd always seen myself playing there.
The reaction from Tennessee coaches upon hearing the news that the Floridian plans to suit up for the Big Orange included calisthenics.
"They was excited, coach, jumping up and down," Cotman said. "Yeah, they was excited, yellin' and screamin'. I just liked it."
While the Scout No. 4-rated athlete in the Sunshine State's 2017 class figures to still be heavily recruited by other Power 5 programs, he's pleased to have a commitment out there.
"It feels great," Cotman said. "I got a lot off my shoulders."
Cotman holds down roles at cornerback, running back, safety, slot receiver, wide receiver for his prep team in Clearwater, Florida. The playmaker feels like his best position is cornerback, but he will "most likely" play some running back and slot receiver at Tennessee.
"I told them that I want to play DB, but they still want me on the offensive side — and kick return, punt return," said Cotman, who reports that he is 5-feet-11, 180 pounds.
He describes his game as "just electric. Great agility and just good in open space."
North Carolina, Ohio State and Tennessee figure to all receive official visits.
"My recruitment process is still open," he said. "But as of now, Tennessee, they're hands down...I'm full-go right now. But, I am going to take my official visits."
The Buckeyes, Tar Heels and Florida Gators were the three schools that the speed burner said were his finalists alongside the Orange & White.
The South's No. 16-rated athlete and the 21st recruit on Tennessee's commit list plans to get up to Rocky Top before his senior year starts.
"I'm going up there next week or in two weeks," said Cotman, who has not seen a game at Neyland Stadium. "I'm absolutely going (to Tennessee games) a lot this year."
Central Catholic does not allow students to graduate in December. Thus, Cotman will be a summer enrollee.