NY Jets claim WR Matt Cole off waivers from the 49ers

Miami Dolphins Training Camp
Miami Dolphins Training Camp / Mark Brown/Getty Images

The NY Jets have reportedly added a little extra competition to their wide receiver room claiming former Division-II standout Matt Cole off waivers from the San Francisco 49ers.

ESPN's Field Yates reported on Wednesday that the Jets had claimed Cole, who spent the last week of the 2020 season in San Francisco, off waivers.

Cole played football at Division-II McKendree University located in Illinois. After a successful college career, Cole went undrafted following the 2020 NFL Draft and signed on with the Miami Dolphins.

He was released as part of final roster cuts but re-signed to the practice squad shortly after. Cole spent the majority of the 2020 season on the Dolphins' practice squad before being signed by the 49ers in late December.

What are the NY Jets getting in Matt Cole?

Cole suited up for the final game of the season with the 49ers, making his NFL debut, and making a pair of tackles on special teams. He only played in one game, but his special-teams impact was already felt.

The 24-year-old was a productive player in college hauling in 93 receptions for 1,618 yards and 17 touchdowns in 42 career games. He also totaled 48 carries for 314 yards and a touchdown on the ground and was a standout special-teamer.

Cole averaged over 27 yards per kick return in 2019, his final season at McKendree, which included a 100-yard return against Lindenwood in October of that year.

He also served as his team's primary punt returner averaging a whopping 26 yards per return which included a 74-yard touchdown. Cole set a new school record by amassing 1,832 all-purpose yards, the most by any player in program history.

Aside from his work in the return game, Cole was a star on special teams serving as a gunner and became a favorite of the coaching staff. At 5-foot-10, 197 pounds, his lack of size will likely limit his ceiling in the NFL.

But he's a good athlete who ran a 4.45 40-yard dash at his pro day and could find his way onto the roster through special teams.

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Cole will have his work cut out for him in a deep wide receiver corps, but the Jets' renewed focus on special teams could give him a leg up on the competition.