HARRISONBURG — James Madison dipped into MAC country and beat out some of the schools in that conference to land its latest pledge in the 2020 recruiting class.
St. Francis Desales (Columbus, Ohio) offensive lineman Cole Potts announced his commitment to the Dukes on Friday.
“When I visited JMU this past weekend I was like, ‘Wow. This place is beautiful,’” Potts said. “The facilities were amazing and then I thought if I come here, then I’m also in the run for a national championship every year.”
The 6-foot-3, 295-pound center-guard said it was important to him to have a chance to compete for a title regularly and that it was one of the reasons why he took FCS JMU up on its offer. The Dukes were one of 15 schools — including MAC programs Akron, Bowling Green, Buffalo and Kent State — to offer Potts a scholarship. Potts said outside of Madison, he considered the MAC schools the most.
“I had a lot of interest in the MAC schools and took a lot of visits to them,” Potts said. “But JMU just felt right. It’s not too far from home, but it’s not too close either, so it felt awesome.”
JMU began recruiting Potts this past spring, he said, when running backs coach Matt Merritt took a trip St. Francis Desales. That day, Potts was lifting in the weight room.
“After that he gave me a phone call and told me he liked me,” Potts said, “and the relationship just built after that.”
Merritt spent two seasons in Columbus at Ohio State as an offensive graduate assistant for the Buckeyes earlier this decade, so he is familiar with the area.
From there, Merritt introduced Potts to Dukes offensive line coach Damian Wroblewski, and Potts said he believes Wroblewski is the position coach that can help him attain his goal of reaching the NFL.
“He’s an awesome guy and knows a ton about football,” Potts said of Wroblewski.
Potts said his style aligns with Wroblewki’s approach, too.
“I’m a to-the-whistle guy,” Potts said. “I go all the way to the whistle, if not after it and I’m very aggressive and want to put someone on their back every play. I always want to make the block and when I’m pulling I want to be the lead blocker for the running back to help him get in the end zone. I’m 100 percent full-go too.”
Potts said even though he doesn’t know any players on the Dukes’ football roster, it helped that he was able to talk with JMU softball player Lynsey Meeks, an Ohio native who trains at the same gym he does in their home state.
Potts is the sixth commit and second offensive linemen in the class.