Cade Cote Included on Comeback Player of the Year Watch List
TEMPE, Ariz. – Sun Devil Football offensive lineman Cade Cote is under consideration for the 2020 Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) in association with The Associated Press (AP) and the Fiesta Bowl Organization announced.
The Comeback Player of the Year Watch List includes 53 players from 44 schools, all with unique stories and journeys. Arizona State's representative on the list, Cade Cote, has battled injuries throughout his career before eventually winning a starting job prior to last season. Unfortunately, a foot injury caused him to miss most of last year, preventing him from getting the playing time he had earned.
Despite the setback, Cote stayed positive and relied on his excellent work ethic to get him back in shape and on the field. Cote was recipient of the 2019 Tim Landers Iron Man Award at the end of season banquet, given annually to the Sun Devil who performed the best in the weight room. This offseason, he worked tirelessly on his mobility and strength, getting back to the form that had him in position to start.
One of the leaders of the team because of his perseverance and mentality, Cote is an individual that the younger Sun Devil offensive lineman look up to and respect. Despite his athletic eligibility technically expiring, Cote was still determined to compete and contribute for the Sun Devils.
That is when the Sun Devil Athletics Compliance Office and Chief Athletics Compliance Officer Steve Webb stepped in. They submitted a waiver to the NCAA on Cote's behalf, lobbying for an extra year of eligibility due to the unique circumstances of his career. After the application was initially denied, the decision was reversed by the NCAA and Cote was granted a sixth-year of eligibility, much to the delight of his teammates and trainer.
"When I heard Cade was getting a sixth year, I was happy because I knew how much this means to him," redshirt sophomore offensive lineman Marco Salas mentioned in his "Sun Devil writes about a Sun Devil" feature on Cote earlier in the year. "Seeing him go down last year hurt because I know how excited he was to finally play. His leadership and experience are going to be big this year as we work toward our goal of playing in the Rose Bowl."
"He's strong man, he's a good football player," Sun Devil offensive lineman (2016-19) Steve Miller remarked. "He just needs his opportunity to shine and he's about to have a big year and go out with a bang."
"For a kid who has always worked really hard and has always been a tough kid, it's nice to see chips fall his way," Associate Head Athletic Trainer Gerry Garcia added. "I'm excited for Cade to have another opportunity to get on the field and have fun."
Fast forward to the Fall of 2020, when Cote was competing for the starting center spot. He impressed the coaches enough in practice to quickly solidify his role as the starting center. All the hard work finally paid off this past Saturday, as the Gilbert, Arizona native made his first-career start for his hometown team in the historic Los Angeles Coliseum against No. 20 USC. Cote was part of an offensive line unit that paved the way for over 258 rushing yards, as the Sun Devils dominated the line of scrimmage. He continues to show improvement on a daily basis and sets the tone in practice from a physicality and intensity standpoint. The Cade Cote comeback story is far from over, as he will be a key piece of the Arizona State offense for the remainder of the season.
Since 2018, a panel of writers, editors and sports information directors from CoSIDA, AP and Touchdown Illustrated have recognized 30 college football student-athletes each season from all divisions of college football for overcoming injury or illness, by sharing their remarkable comeback stories throughout the season. At the conclusion of the season, three college football student-athletes were honored as Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award winners during an on-field presentation at the PlayStation® Fiesta Bowl.
There have been many changes to college football, this season, so rather than recognize college football student-athletes from all divisions of play each week during the season, several watch lists of Division 1 football student-athletes playing in the fall are being issued throughout the season. The three overall winners will be announced timed with the 2020-21 PlayStation® Fiesta Bowl, held on January 2, 2021.
"Our goal is to help fans better appreciate the roads these student-athletes have traveled. says Doug Vance, executive director of CoSIDA. "We hope these stories of achievement can inspire other people to meet the challenges in their own lives."
Previous winners of the Mayo Clinic Comeback Player of the Year Award have been: 2018 - Antwan Dixon (Kent State University), Seth Simmer (Dartmouth College); Antonio Wimbush (Carson-Newman University); 2019 – Jake Luton (Oregon State University); Drew Wilson (Georgia Southern University) and Octavion Wilson (Salisbury University). For a complete list of past honorees, visit www.Comeback-Player.com.