Editor's note: last week, I ran an Alex Molden piece declaring him No. 17 on our list. This was an error on my part. Molden was actually No. 9. Cota was No. 17, and we run his piece today.
It's always special when a local kid makes good.
There used to be more Oregon kids on the roster in the before time, and the 1994 Rose Bowl team had no shortage of them. Jeremy Asher (Tigard), Rich Ruhl (Roseburg), Josh Wilcox (Junction City), and Paul Wiggins (Portland) played major roles on the Rose Bowl squad. But no native son had a bigger season than Ashland strong safety Chad Cota.
Cota was a stalwart the minute he stepped foot in Eugene--starting 43 consecutive games. He was the heart and soul of the Gang Green defense, leading the '94 squad with 91 tackles, en route to being named 1st Team All Pac-10 and First Team All-American. NFL scouts had questions about his speed, which caused him to slip to a 7th round pick of the Carolina Panthers in the NFL Draft, but he carved out an 8-year career, including an interception to seal Carolina's first division title.