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Five Newbies to Watch For: A-Back Nathan Cottrell

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Can Cottrell come back from a knee injury and have an impact for Tech this season?

NCAA Football: Georgia Tech at Clemson Joshua S. Kelly-USA TODAY Sports

Countdown to Kickoff: 67 days

AB Nathan Cottrell, RS Freshman, 5-10, 185 pounds, Knoxville, Tenn.

On June 9, 2014, Georgia Tech received a commitment from Knoxville, Tenn. running back Nathan Cottrell. Shortly thereafter, it seemed as though he may not have been as high on the Jackets as his commitment would have suggested. But those issues were quickly resolved and Cottrell remained committed to Tech through National Signing Day. Cottrell’s only other Power 5 offer was from Cincinnati, though he had begun to garner interest from several big-time programs before he committed to the Yellow Jackets. Cottrell averaged 14.3 yards per carry during his senior season while leading Knoxville West to a Tennessee state title. He was ranked a three-star prospect by both Rivals (5.5) and 247Sports Composite (.8260).

As his highlights show, Cottrell is incredibly fast. He ran an electronically timed 4.35 40-yard-dash at a Nike SPARQ combine while still in high school, the seventh fastest Nike recorded out of more than 21,000. I like to imagine CPJ watched his highlights and said something to the effect of, “That boy runs faster than a buttered bullet.”

Unfortunately, Cottrell’s freshman season on The Flats was stopped before it could get started. Cottrell suffered a season-ending knee injury in August. He almost certainly would have had a chance to play early and often last season, as the A-Backs were very young and inexperienced. However, that remains true this season and Cottrell looks to receive plenty of playing time, if all goes according to plan.

Cottrell has the potential to be an explosive playmaker out of the backfield this season. Tech seems to be in pretty good shape at the B-Back position, which sets up the A-Backs to have success.

If Cottrell can shows he has the ability to compete during fall camp, he is at a position where he could play this season. And if he can regain the speed he had before his injury, Cottrell could certainly make a big impact for the Jackets this fall.