This talented, fast-rising cornerback in the 2023 class was on hand for Clemson’s 19-13 win over Boston College at Memorial Stadium this past Saturday.
Life Christian Academy (Colonial Heights, Va.) four-star Antonio Cotman, Jr. finally got to see all that Death Valley has to offer.
He caught up with The Clemson Insider regarding his first trip to Tiger Town.
“The fans, they were amazing,” Cotman said. “When we ran up the hill, everybody was giving me high fives when we were walking through the crowd. They treated me like family. They gave me the red carpet treatment basically. They treated me like family.”
What does that mean to Cotman?
“It’s big! That’s all I’m looking for in this recruitment process,” he said. “I’m looking for how they treat me like family? I’m big on relationships, so that’s big for me. They treated me like I was one of their own.”
That’s been what the budding relationship between Clemson cornerbacks coach Mike Reed and Cotman has been all about.
“He definitely was happy to see me,” Cotman said of Reed. “He almost took me out of my seat when he saw me. We were just choppin’ it up, talking about football and how my season’s going. We was talking about how the defense strapped up at the game. He asked me how my dad was doing, how my grandma was doing. He was just asking how my family’s been. We were just having a down-to-earth conversation.”
Cotman has built a unique bond with Reed and judging by what he’s previously said about Clemson’s cornerbacks coach, the reaction he received from him comes as no surprise.
While Cotman had also gotten in contact with Clemson quarterbacks coach Brandon Streeter, it was Brent Venables, with who he spent a good amount of time prior to Saturday’s contest.
“Coach Venables, he was really talking to me, like we weren’t even talking about football,” Cotman said regarding his conversation with Clemson’s defensive coordinator. “We really were talking about Coach Dabo, how he treats his players. He wants to get you to the (NFL), but he wants to build you as a man and he’s big on building the man first. It’s good and all to go to the league, but he wants to build you as a man first and it’s all going to fall in line, as you can see. They got multiple players that go to the league and it’s been proven.
“He was just saying that Coach Dabo, all he talks about is positive things. I was in the locker room and Coach Dabo, he had given a speech and he was just so positive and that’s basically what Coach Venables was talking about. He was talking about our season…he’s real down to earth as well.”
Cotman feels like Clemson has “kept it real” with him throughout the duration of his recruitment. He knows that Reed won’t steer him in the wrong direction and that he’ll be 100% honest with him throughout the process.
It’s easy to use his teammate, Joshua Miller, as a good example of staying patient. Miller earned a scholarship offer back on Sept. 2, after being told by Clemson offensive line coach Robbie Caldwell to “stay patient.”
Though Cotman got in contact with Clemson a tad later, that same message still reigns supreme.
“When it’s my time, it’ll come,” Cotman said of a potential scholarship offer.
In addition to catching up with some coaches, Cotman had the opportunity to speak with Malcolm Greene. The two have Virginia roots with Greene hailing from Highland Springs. The sophomore defensive back didn’t play in Saturday’s game due to an ongoing shoulder injury, but he still caught up with Cotman.
“Me and Malcolm have a dope relationship,” Cotman said. “Me and him, we usually train when he’s in Richmond. He’s like a big bro, basically.”
Circling back to his recruitment, Cotman’s visit to Clemson definitely helped put some things in perspective. With that being said though, he’s keeping his options wide open for the time being.