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James Cotton
My Story

Collinwood High School Graduate 1994 Letterman (Football, Baseball, Basketball) Voted All-State/All-Senate each Sport 

1993 Blue-Chip All-American 

1996 JUCO All-American (1996 Team Most Outstanding Linebacker)

1997 JUCO All-American (1997 Team Most Outstanding Linebacker)

1996 Conference Champions (Team Captain)

1997 Conference Champions (Team Captain)

A.W. Dutch Elston Award CCSF 1997

Graduate City College of San Francisco 1997 Associate of Arts (Deans List)

Graduate The Ohio State University 2007 Bachelor of Arts & Sciences 

1998 Big Ten Champion 

1998 Sugar Bowl Champion

All Big-Ten Honorable Mention 1999 (Led Team in Sacks) 

Voted Ohio State’s Most Outstanding Lineman 1999

NFL Draft Pick Chicago Bears 2000

XFL New York/ New Jersey Hitmen 2001

Calgary Stampeders 2001 (CFL Grey Cup Champions) (All Rookie Team) 

Buffalo Bills 2002

Atlanta Falcons 2003-2004

Hamilton Tigercats 2005-2006 (CFL) (5-Time CFL Lineman of the Week)

Member of Varsity O

Member of The Ohio State Alumni Association 

Honorary Rotary Member 

Inductee of City College of San Francisco Football Legacy Wall of Fame

Inductee of the Collinwood High School Hall of Fame


Mr. Cotton served as an independent consultant with the Ohio State James Cancer Medical Center grieving program to help children, teens, and families through the grieving process.

Yearly, Mr. Cotton provides football camps for children with special needs and underprivileged youth to attend absolutely free in the great state of Ohio!

As a keynote and motivational speaker, James has a tackle tobacco and anti-vaping campaign that has been presented in several middle and high schools throughout the country impacting over 500,000 students. 

His most memorable speech came when he had the opportunity to speak at his alma mater Collinwood high school and being featured on the front page of the Cleveland Plain Dealer! 


James’s most memorable college sports moment was being the last player to sack Tom Brady two-times in the big house!


Shortly after retiring from professional football, James established Buck Icon, which helps former Ohio State athletes have a positive transition into life after sports. He has successfully empowered over 50 athletes with knowledge and resources that led to employment opportunities for all the athletes. Also, James served as a liaison that helped several professional athletes from the NBA, NFL, WNBA, and MLB recover important lifetime benefits and compensation that were owed to the athletes. 


Since transitioning from professional football, James is excited get back to a family oriented and team environment with The Snyder-Cotton Agency. He has built financial services agency with part-time and top producers servicing and protecting families by providing financial literacy, peace of mind, and securing your family’s legacy. 


This former NFL Draft pick loves learning, traveling, and spending quality time with his beautiful wife Hannah and their four lovely children Veronica, Vallory, Vaughn, and Vannah. 

James Cotton
KeyNote Speaker

Our Tackle Tobacco & Anti-Vaping Campaign is presented by James Cotton, a former Ohio State Buckeye and professional football player which explains the importance of a tobacco-vape free lifestyle by illustrating the short and long-term effects of tobacco use and vaping. By sharing real life experiences and testimonies, Mr. Cotton states essential life skills are developed over time. These characteristics are not something you are born with. He shares his keys to success. These skills are developed with mental and physical repetitions. Over 100, 000 youths have been impacted with this campaign. Looking forward to providing more inspiration. 

Speaker Topics:

Tackle Tobacco & Anti-Vaping Campaign
Anti-Bullying & Self-Worth Message
Leadership: "From the Inner City to Inner Faith"
Over Coming Adversity
Teamwork Matters
Mastering T.H.E Art of Transitioning
Financial Services Awareness Seminars
Business Manual For Success 

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James Cotton

What To Expect

Mr. Cotton’s energy and excitement will leave a lasting impression on the audience that will last for a lifetime! His passionate testimonials are presented with such conviction and the information shared is relatable and valuable. He offers transformative dialogue that focuses on bullying prevention, having a positive mindset, and the essential life skills that builds character and leaders which results into confidence, success and happiness.

We're always looking for new and exciting speaking opportunities. Let's connect.

Direct Line: 614-517-2172

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