Cotton went from a young player that would take some plays off in 2007 to a player that earned 18-5A first team all-district honors anchoring the defense for a playoff team.
As Cotton's play and effort level became consistent, Big 12 programs began to switch from interest to offers. Cotton received his first pair of offers from Nebraska and Oklahoma and they were followed by Texas A&M and Oklahoma State.
By season's end, Texas coach Oscar Giles informed Alief Taylor head coach Trevor White that Cotton had been approved for offer and was invited to the Longhorns first junior day on February 8.
Today, Cotton took little time in accepting the Longhorns offer committing to head coach Mack Brown in Austin with his mother and sister on hand.
"I committed to Texas," Cotton said. "I just felt comfortable down there. Texas is the school I've always wanted to go to. I spoke to Mack Brown and he said that they wanted me to come play for them. I'm in the car right now and talked it over with my family. I'm about to call Coach Mack Brown right now and let him know," said Cotton.
One thing that excited Cotton is teaming up with fellow commit and defensive tackle Taylor Bible in future years.
"I'm excited to be on the defensive line with Taylor Bible. I think we'll develop a relationship and look forward to playing with him," Cotton said.
In January, Burnt Orange Beat stopped by Taylor High to check out the rising junior. Taylor Head Coach Trevor White had high praise and expectations for his star pupil.
"De'Aires had a very good year for us," White said on January 6. "He really improved and came on for us. He plays with good leverage, gets good extension with the arms and hands, he's got good feet and he gets off blocks extremely well. One of the things is that he's an aggressive kid and a thing I'll ask him to do next year is play more laterally at the line of scrimmage. Do some squeezing. One other thing we are going to ask him to do is tie up and demand some double teams. Work on some gap control. He's done a tremendous job for us," White concluded.
With the increased understanding of the position and learning to play different technique, the question of where Cotton will play on the next level comes to mind as well as what type of scheme he fits into. Cotton has the ability to play a number of techniques from zero to three, but Coach White sees his star pupil as a three technique on the next level.
"I think he'll play a three. That's probably where he'll best be suited because he's athletic enough to expand with a gap as opposed to a zero tech where he's working to plug. I think he can do that (zero), but he has the ability to move laterally and make plays. He actually played some five tech this year for us, so he's played the nose, the three and some five. Programs that play an even and odd front are recruiting him. In an even front, he'll probably project as a three." White said.