Yes, Jordan Cotton is a legacy. His dad, Marshall, played running back for the Hawkeyes from 1985-87. So yeah, the Hawkeyes were always going to be in the running for the Mount Pleasant High School star.
It came down to Iowa and Kansas. Here were some of the headlines from last summer when Cotton was making his choice. The Jayhawks were coming off an Orange Bowl victory over Virginia Tech. Iowa, bowl-less in ’07, had just lost West Des Moines Valley’s David Barrent to Michigan State. Part of the reason Barrent bolted was because of the rash of off-field incidents that plagued the Hawkeyes.
So, it took some guts for Cotton to say he was sticking with his gut and going with the Hawkeyes. He picked Iowa when it wasn’t cool to pick Iowa.
“I didn’t consider it (off-field incidents),” Cotton said. “The players are in bad situations, but coach Ferentz and the whole coaching staff are still great people. I don’t put all that stuff against them. I just want to come in and play football and win a Big Ten championship.”
Cotton said he’d received text messages from Barrent as late as a few days before he chose Iowa, telling him to pick the Hawkeyes.
“That’s OK, I guess,” Cotton said. “I guess he thinks Michigan State is better. We’ll see about that.”
Cotton earned first-team all-state as a junior and senior. He had 54 catches for 664 yards and six TDs in his career at Mount Pleasant, where he was mostly a running back. He rushed 341 times for 3,043 yards and 42 TDs. He also had 925 return yards and three TDs.
Coach Kirk Ferentz and his staff put a lot of time into the recruitment of the Iowa skill trio of Cotton, Keenan Davis and Brandon Wegher. They all signed with Iowa after three years of letters and recruiting love.
“Some people have said Jordan might play defense, but our plan is for him to be a receiver, a comparison to (former Hawkeyes receiver who played RB at Ankeny) Andy Brodell there. When you’re in high school, you put your best athletes where they can help you the most, and our job is to project.”
To further make the point that Iowa feels Cotton (6-1, 170) is a receiver, it not only listed him as a receiver in its recruiting material, Iowa put his receiving stats ahead of his more impressive rushing numbers.