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Jevon Cottoy’s unorthodox path to pro football isn’t unlike many others. But considering where he came from, it’s hard to not marvel at the fact he’s made it this far. The big wide receiver moved with his Dad to Calgary from the Caribbean island of St. Vincent when he was nine years old. At the urging of his uncle, he eventually took up the North American version of football in Peewee.
“I didn’t know about the game until 2008 or 2009 I started watching Randy Moss highlights,” recalled the Lions’ new addition.
“My uncle had played soccer and he knew I had the length at over six-feet to try out. I started as a defensive end and kind of moved around different positions.”
After one season of junior football with the Calgary Colts, Cottoy was headed for the renowned University of Calgary Dinos program before suffering a torn ACL and MCL in his knee. Figuring a career in his newfound passion was all but dead, Cottoy enrolled at Southern Alberta Institute of Technology to become a firefighter. Ironically, all that did was re-ignite the quest to strap on the pads for a living.
“My friend Xavier Ramsay who was with me at the BC Lions e-camp last summer encouraged me to try football again,” explained Cottoy.
“My family also played a big part in helping me recover. The day after my surgery, my aunt gathered lots of relatives at the house and all they did was pray for me. That just made me feel like I still had a shot. I had never been injured in my life. It kind of opened my eyes on thinking about stuff other than football.”
All the stars officially aligned when his Calgary Colts coach Matt Blokker AKA “Coach Snoop” moved to the Langley Rams prior to 2018. Cottoy also came west and recorded 39 catches for 657 yards and nine touchdowns in regular season action and then scored four touchdowns in the Rams’ first playoff victory. Cottoy would play a big role in helping them advance all the way to the Canadian Bowl where they fell short against the Saskatoon Hilltops. It was all icing on the cake considering where he was the year before.
“Just getting back in the game and creating that bond with teammates; I hadn’t had that in the previous couple years,” said the receiver.
“I’d kind of lost that and forgot how it felt. Being back in a locker room environment made me love the game even more. It worked out because now I’m a BC Lion.”
Cottoy’s move from Calgary means the Lions would hold his territorial rights. As we know, it isn’t totally unheard of for a BC Junior player to go straight to CFL stardom. A guy named Andrew Harris comes to mind. Taking it one step at a time, Cottoy will shoot to make an impact in 2019 training camp and learn from a pretty impressive crop of receivers.
“I can take a lot of inspiration from the older Canadian players especially,” explained Cottoy.
“I’m excited to take full advantage now by being in here training every day. I won’t miss one. It’s a tough jump from junior to the CFL, but now that I’m here I want to make it count. Hopefully, I can take in all the knowledge I can and be able to show up ready in training camp.”
And he gets his first taste of how small the pro football world is when he first sees running backs coach Nik Lewis in the offices next week.
“Nik and Henry Burris were guys I looked up to with the Stampeders,” chuckled Cottoy.
“Those were my guys. I know Nik won’t be coaching the receivers but it will be exciting to be in the same building and perhaps lean on him a little bit.”
Anything he can to keep the great journey going. You can bet his mother and friends back in St. Vincent are still smiling.