When offensive guard Lester Cotton transferred from Illinois to Tuscaloosa-Central, he quickly fell in love with the University of Alabama.
Cotton verbally committed to the Crimson Tide on Feb. 2, a few days before the recent National Signing Day. Ole Miss, Mississippi State, LSU and Auburn all had offered, but Alabama was always ahead of the pack.
During the offseason, Cotton has emerged as the nation's top-ranked offensive guard by Rivals.com. He's also considered the second-ranked college prospect in Alabama, according to the Tuscaloosa News.
The 6-foot-5, 315-pound Cotton, who has already met NCAA freshmen eligibility requirements, is expected to get redshirted next year.
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"I want to go in knowing that I've got to compete, knowing that there are definitely better than me," Cotton recently told Tidesports.com. "So it's my goal to go out there and work a little bit harder than they do."
Lester's verbal pledge is a big reason why Alabama has the nation's No. 1 Class by Rivals.com.