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Six Years Later, Jake Cotton Still Finds Humor in False Start

October 05, 2020

If Jake Cotton is grateful for anyone, it’s a man by the name of Mark Donnelly. He isn’t just any random person either. Donnelly is a Canadian singer who is probably best known by those on the internet for singing “O Canada” and, well . . .

“If it were not for him, I would have had to sit in the Student Life cafeteria there in West Stadium every Friday before games for the rest of the season and have to see me and my play reoccur on the NOT Top 10,” Cotton told Hail Varsity Radio on Monday.

It’s been six years (to the day!) since Cotton’s memorable moment against Michigan State.

Yeah, that was a false start. And it’s one that instantly turned Cotton into a GIF and subsequent meme. He was also featured all over from USA Today, Yahoo Sports and, well, SportsCenter’s NOT Top 10 list.

“I finished No. 2,” Cotton said. “Probably the only time I’ve been happy to finish second in my entire life was in the Not Top 10. I will say this, of all college football players in 2014, to my knowledge, I’m the only person to be featured on NFL Live.”

Yes, Cotton was featured on NFL Countdown prior to a Monday Night Football game in the popular “C’mon Man” segment. It was Mike Ditka who threw Cotton the shout out for the false start, which Cotton now jokes prompted him into fame.

“I got a big star on Hollywood Drive, too,” Cotton joked. “Things are looking up.”

Six years later, Cotton has as much of a sense of humor about the whole ordeal as he did when it happened. He admits there have been some eye-rolling moments, like the one-year anniversary when a local media account tagged him and he saw it on his first day of work at his first job out of college. Overall, he can’t help but laugh.

He knows it’ll keep coming up, after all. Mostly on Twitter. His only regret in the whole deal? That he doesn’t get residuals from the GIF every time it’s shared on Twitter.

“It’s been fun,” Cotton said with a laugh. “I really wish I could have found a way to monetize this but it hasn’t worked out yet.”

Hail Varsity Radio is live six days a week. You can catch the show Monday-Friday from 4-6pm, and Saturday from 7-9am, on ESPN 1480.

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