Brenton Cox won’t be able to play for Florida in Saturday’s game, but there remains the question of whether his presence in the Gators’ camp could prove a detriment to Georgia.
The outside linebacker from Stockbridge didn't transfer to Florida until the second week of the Bulldogs' preseason practices. Georgia coach Kirby Smart was asked after Tuesday night's practice if that might represent some sort of security concern.
“Not really,” Smart said. “You don’t concern yourself with things you can’t control. They’ve got film, so they can watch and see what we do. It’s not like there’s secrets out there when it’s on tape.”
Cox, a 5-star recruit, played in all 13 games and started one as a freshman last season. He was slated to miss the Bulldogs' opener because of a one-game suspension for violating UGA's marijuana-use policy. But he reportedly was upset to find himself running fourth-team at the "Jack" outside linebacker position, behind freshmen Azeez Ojulari and Nolan Smith and sophomore Robert Beal in preseason camp.
One week later, Cox was enrolled at Florida and practicing with the Gators. His request for immediate NCAA eligibility was denied. Cox will be a sophomore when he plays for them next season.
Meanwhile, Georgia players do not seem to begrudge their former teammate for switching allegiances in one of the SEC’s more intense rivalries.
Junior linebacker Monty Rice said he spoke with Cox shortly after he left. Though admittedly stunned by the move, Rice said he forgives his former teammate.
“You know, he’s still my dog,” Rice said.” He’s got to do what’s best for him at the end of the day. It’s his life, not mine.”
Sophomore cornerback Eric Stokes expressed similar sentiments.
“I’m proud of him,” Stokes said. “I mean, that’s his decision. That’s him. I know I’m going to support him either way. He’s my dog here, and he’s still my dog there. I’m really happy for him.”
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