Georgia linebacker Nolan Smith (4) during the Bulldogs’ session on the Woodruff Practice Field in Athens, Ga., on Monday, Aug. 5, 2019.
Photo: Anthony Walsh
Photo: Anthony Walsh

Could Georgia Tech be a landing spot for Brenton Cox?

At least one member of that team already has communicated with the Georgia outside linebacker, who was conspicuously missing from the Bulldogs’ practice Monday and reportedly is seeking a transfer.

Almost as soon as the news broke around lunchtime Monday, his close friend Marquez Ezzard sent out a tweet either indicating that Cox had reached out to him or encouraging Cox to call him. Ezzard was one of Cox’s teammates at Stockbridge High. He is a freshman receiver at Tech, where he transferred after a redshirt season at Miami.

Kelton Dawson, a sophomore defensive end at Tech, also was a teammate of Cox at Stockbridge.


 

Cox would be a big get for Tech. The Yellow Jackets are in the first year of a rebuild under coach Geoff Collins and need defensive players.

The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Cox was a 5-star prospect coming out of Stockbridge High and played in 13 of 14 games for the Bulldogs last season. Cox started the final game of the season for Georgia after D’Andre Walker was scratched because of injury. Otherwise, he played in 12 other games as a backup and finished his freshman season with 20 tackles and one sack.

There still was no verifiable explanation Tuesday for why Cox may want to leave UGA. He did not participate in the team’s fourth practice of preseason camp Monday and neither Cox nor UGA has made an announcement regarding his absence.

One individual who has a close personal relationship with Cox, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Cox was unhappy working with the third-team defense the first week of camp and might be looking for a situation where playing time was more readily available.

There are reports that Cox’s name has been entered into the NCAA’s transfer portal. However, that information is protected by federal privacy laws and is not supposed to be accessed by the public.

Cox was arrested on a marijuana possession charge in April. He was expected to be suspended at least the first game of the season, per the punishment statutes in UGA’s student-athlete handbook.

In the meantime, life goes on for the Bulldogs, which already had a crowded meeting room for the outside linebackers. Even without Cox in the fold, Georgia has seven outside linebackers on the roster, nine including one walkon and the possibility of a cross-training Quay Walker.

Like Cox, freshman Nolan Smith and sophomore Adam Anderson were also 5-star prospects coming out of high schools. Outside linebackers coach Dan Lanning on Monday said the coaches have nicknamed Smith “Hammerhead” because of “the way he likes collision runs.”

Also, junior Walter Grant is a returning starter and redshirt freshman Azeez Ojulari replaced Cox for much of the Sugar Bowl.

“There's some really good competition,” Lanning said. “We’ve got some guys in there that are working really hard but at this point, you know that it's still wide open.”

GEORGIA OLBs

Adam Anderson, Soph.

Robert Beal, Soph.

*Matthew Brown, RFr.

Walter Grant, Jr.

Jermaine Johnson, Jr.

Azeez Ojulari, RFr.

Nolan Smith, Fr.

**Quay Walker, Soph.

* Walk-on

** Cross-training inside linebacker

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

X