Senior safety/linebacker Pudge Cotton is one of the defensive captains on the Eastern Michigan University football team – but he almost wasn’t.
Cotton, who has been playing football since he was young, said he quit after a short time because he didn’t see himself as being good. It took some convincing to get back on the field.
“It’s kind of weird,” Cotton said. “I started football when I was about seven or eight. I wasn’t good at it – I just kind of joined because my little brother had a knack for it and he was real good, so I just thought I’d try. I ended up quitting after a year or two and wasn’t even going to play in high school – my dad and coach ended up talking me into it and I ended up playing [and] getting pretty good my sophomore year and I picked up my first scholarship from Northwestern University and it’s kind of taken off since then.”
Cotton was voted captain by not only his coaches, but his fellow players as well.
“I don’t know that there’s a greater honor to get voted captain by your own teammates – and so he’s a leader for us and brings confidence and the ability to communicate vocally,” coach Chris Creighton said. “[He’s] inherently positive, fun to be around, can play – as we’ve already seen both in the secondary and the second level – at the linebacker level – I believe in him.”
Cotton said he values the opinion of his teammates and coaches, and that he is up to the challenge.
“It’s definitely an honor being a captain,” he said. “It means a lot that the players and coaches voted me captain. It’s definitely a responsibility, it definitely comes with pressure, but I like pressure and I like responsibilities – it’s definitely cool.”
Cotton hails from Maywood, Ill., which is about 20 minutes due west of Chicago. He said he makes the most of the time he gets at home with his family.
“We don’t go home often – being Division I athletes, but when we do go home, it’s fun,” he said. “Seeing family – I have a lot of younger cousins … it’s good spending time with them and seeing my aunties, uncle, dad and little brother.”
When Cotton’s in Ypsilanti the rest of the year, he spends a lot of time with his teammates, which he said he enjoys.
“I love it,” he said. “It’s a blast – especially with the class I came in with: Kevin Johnson, Ryan Brumfield, Bronson Hill, Tyreese Russell, all those guys – Omar McFarlaine, I can go on and on. It’s been a blast. I love being here at Eastern Michigan – I have a lot of good memories and I hope to build more memories.”
The chemistry major said he’s trying to get through his classes and finish his educational career.
“It’s hard doing football and chemistry and trying to balance both,” he said.
What’s next for the senior, after he graduates?
“[The] NFL,” he said.
He said his goal is to get into pharmacy school if the NFL doesn’t come calling.
Cotton’s teammates think highly of him, as well. Junior linebacker Great Ibe spoke very highly of Cotton.
“I think that everyone should know about Pudge [and] his character,” he said. “He’s a strong man, he’s one of the people who no matter what the situation is you can always depend on him. He’s a player who – on the field – is vocal, he’s going to get in your face and let you know he made a play. He’s going to let you know he’s one of the best athletes on the field. I think Pudge is, not only being named a captain – he’s always been a captain of the team or he’s been a player to look up to. I expect big things from him.”
Pudge Cotton’s Football Card (Credit: EMUEagles.com)
Full Name: Sean Elliot Cotton
Weight: 210 lbs
Hometown: Maywood, Ill.
High School: Walter Lutheran High School
2014 (to date):
Games Played: 2
Total tackles: 4
Games Played: 30
Total Tackles: 104 (56 solo, 48 assists)
Fumble Recoveries: 2
Defensive Touchdowns: 1
Follow Al Willman on Twitter: @AlWillmanEcho