Continuing the breakdown of the big-time talent within Florida’s high school class of 2023, this wide receiver possesses a distinctive set of skills coveted by college football programs. Whenever a wide receiver can beat an opponent with more than size, or more than speed, that’s oftentimes when a prospect starts to gain college attention. That type of player lives in the greater Pensacola, Fla. area.
The ability of Raymond Cottrell to be a multi-faceted wide receiver with the methods he uses his size, speed, and long arms produces problems for defensive backs. Despite playing for a high school program that does not receive much recognition, Cottrell generated his own interest during the past year with highlight-reel catches and overall skills that deserve national recognition. He’s still attempting to improve his game as well.
He’s been busy going to seven-on-seven tournaments and college football camps this spring and summer. Now one of Florida’s top 2023 recruits, Cottrell’s recruitment has went into overdrive during recent months.
Vitals: 6’3”, 215-pounds
School: Milton (Fla.) High School
Recruiting: Georgia, Florida, Florida State, Auburn, Tennessee, Alabama, Notre Dame, Miami, Arkansas, and Georgia Tech offered. Has taken several college trips including Alabama, also camped at Florida, Florida State, Tennessee, and North Carolina, and will unofficially visit Notre Dame on July 27.
Frame: Cottrell’s mature frame includes powerful legs and very strong hands. Upper body is also well defined and proportioned well compared to his lower half. Cottrell will likely add a little weight in college, but it’s more about defining his frame at this point, as he’s already college-size for a wide receiver.
Athleticism: He explodes as a leaper with his lower-body strength, and changes direction much like a player that weighs 180 to 190-pounds. This allows Cottrell the ability to overpower defensive backs for jump balls and create yards after contact.
Route Running: Cottrell negates the cushion of the defensive back quickly. As a mere sophomore, he already understood the need to be aggressive with talented defensive backs by running hard off the line of scrimmage, then stemming his route to keep the defensive back from positioning himself at an advantageous angle to break on the pass.
His ability to “stack” a defensive back, i.e. getting behind/beside the defender with route running and speed and then utilizing his body as a shield to fend off the defensive back has been witnessed several times while playing for C3 Elite 7v7, and his high school team. This helps the quarterback have a bigger window to throw the football into, and it allows more time for Cottrell to receive a pass. His best asset relates to his size and the change of speed he uses. Here's a video of Cottrell catching a pass and running away from the defense:
At a moment's notice, Cottrell will go from half-speed to full-throttle and go by a defender. Combining Cottrell’s big frame and good hands with this maneuver earned him separation to score touchdowns during this past spring’s seven-on-seven circuit, and it’s something he used last fall during his sophomore season as well. Take a look at Cottrell as he catches a fade pass:
He will need to continue to learn the nuances of route running including how and when to break down and change direction so that it creates even better separation from defensive backs than what he’s already doing. For his age, Cottrell is doing quite well with route running, but there’s always room for added technique.
This is a bona fide big-time boundary wide receiver that fans are accustomed to watching during high point opportunities in the end zone and during deep passes down the sideline. Cottrell’s frame and athleticism cannot be taught, and he’s already adept at creating separation. This young man will continue to add scholarship offers because of his unique overall skills.