MEDFORD -- One of the top college football recruits in the history of Southern Oregon will not be headed north to Eugene, but south to Los Angeles. South Medford star receiver Chase Cota announced Wednesday he would sign with the UCLA Bruins and ex-Ducks head coach Chip Kelly.
Cota had an in-home visit from Kelly and wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty last week and said the meeting lasted more than three hours. The prolific wide out, listed as the 144th best recruit in the country by 24/7 Sports, said not to count UCLA out in the future given Kelly's track record of success at Oregon.
Cota is the first South Medford football player to go to a Division-1 school since QB Ted Stark went to Washington in 1991.
There will be a chance for Cota to make an immediate impact for the Bruins as they don't return many experienced receivers in 2018. Redshirt junior Jordan Lesley developed into a star over the past couple of years and his 61-catch, 1,136-yard, eight touchdown regular season may be enough to convince him to leave school for the NFL Draft.
Behind Lesley, the most accomplished returning Bruins receiver is redshirt junior Christian Pabico, who caught 17 passes for 269 yards and one touchdown in the 2017 regular season. For Oregon, this represents a major recruiting disappointment of someone once thought to be headed to Eugene.
Cota's father, Chad, played safety at Oregon and then played eight seasons in the NFL with the Panthers, Saints, Colts, and Rams. He was named to the Panthers' 10-year anniversary team at safety and retired from the NFL in 2003.
Cota has completed all his graduation requirements from South Medford and will head to Los Angeles to participate in spring camp with the UCLA football team next semester.