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Cota set to announce college choice

After months of courtship by NCAA Division I football programs, the chase for Chase Cota ends Wednesday.

The South Medford High senior and four-star recruit will make his college choice public during an announcement ceremony inside the Panthers gym at 3 p.m. Ten minutes prior, Tablerock Sports Network will begin live-streaming the event and will interview Cota afterward.

If his Twitter account (@ccota) is any indication, Cota was — at least publicly — keeping six schools in the running as the deadline for his final decision rapidly approached.

On Monday at 6:37 p.m., Cota sent out a tweet of his senior season highlights with the hashtags #RollTide (Alabama) #GoBears (California) #GoDawgs (Georgia) #GoIrish (Notre Dame) #GoDucks (Oregon) #GoBruins (UCLA).

USC joined those schools on an original list of seven finalists, but wasn’t mentioned in the tweet.

During a Dec. 7 interview with local TV station KDRV, Cota talked about the departure of coach Willie Taggart from Oregon, detailed in-home visits by Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly and UCLA coach Chip Kelly and shared his thoughts about the decision-making process.

“It’s really, just, you know, kind of what your gut says at the end. I mean, they’re all great schools — all the schools that recruited me,” he said. “It’s kinda hard to tell people ‘no’ in the end. I mean, I’ve had to do it to a couple schools. It’s really just how you feel.”

The oldest son of former NFL player Chad Cota, Chase Cota has all the qualities to go with a professional pedigree.

At 6-foot-4 and 200 pounds with a 40-yard dash time of 4.53 seconds, combined with a 20-yard agility shuttle of 4.13 seconds and a vertical jump of 36½ inches, Cota is blessed with the measurables college programs seek.

He owns the Panthers’ single-game receiving record after a 282-yard, 10-catch effort in 2015, and his four TD receptions against North Medford this year tied the school single-game record set by Ryan Heil in 2001 against Redmond and equaled by Kaleb Franklin in 2015 against Roseburg.

Overall, Cota amassed 2,696 yards and 38 touchdowns on 165 receptions in his four-year varsity run.

Only Mitch Singler finished with more career receiving yards (2,785), but Cota’s TD totals surpassed the current Oregon State assistant coach’s tally of 31 and his overall receptions put him ahead of previous leaders Ryan Benson (149) and E.J. Singler (148).

Reach reporter Mike Oxendine at 541-776-4499 or moxendine@mailtribune.com

South Medford senior wide receiver Chase Cota, a four-star recruit, will announce his college choice Wedneday afternoon in the Panthers gym. [MAIL TRIBUNE FILE]