Want to attack every day with the latest Georgia football recruiting info? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. The play sheet today calls for a major update with 5-star Ohio State commitment Brenton Cox.
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. — It now seems like Georgia has made up significant ground with one of its few big swing-and-misses for the class of 2018.
That’s Brenton Cox. To be specific, that’s 5-star DE Brenton Cox. Cox, it should be noted from the jump here, it still committed to Ohio State.
DawgNation sought out Cox in the Stockbridge locker room about 15 minutes after an epic Class AAAAA state quarterfinal bout between No. 2 Buford and his No. 3 Tigers. Buford rallied in the second half to forge a 20-17 win.
Cox was stunned. Saddened to see his high school playing career expire with that tough elimination loss.
“It still feels like I have practice on Monday,” Cox said. “It is over with. I am still trying to take on the fact that we lost here in our own house.”
That was harder for Cox to do that the tight ends and double-teams with tackles and chips from running backs. He can handle those.
“Now I just have to get better and get ready for college,” Cox said.
He still plans to enroll early in January. But he now plans official visits to Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State.
Cox was supposed to be at Alabama for an unofficial visit last week. He chose to visit UGA instead. Was there anything to that trip to Athens?
“I don’t know,” Cox said. “I can’t even really say that right now. There is something to it, though. I like the people at Georgia. It is going to be my decision at the end of the day whether I go to Georgia or Ohio State. But right now, it is still Ohio State.”
The first follow-up question was to clarify whether Alabama was still in the mix for Cox.
“It is still Alabama in there, too,” Cox said.
The rest of that conversation is going to give a lot of hope for DawgNation when it comes to Cox. He now plans to give the Bulldogs an official visit, too.
How 5-star Brenton Cox now feels about UGA
DawgNation reached out to a source last week. That specific contact said something had changed.
They now felt that Cox could really eventually wind up in the Class of 2018 at Georgia. Another contact echoed that similar sentiment. What has changed here?
“What has changed?” Cox said. “Well, really it is just the players there. The players there that I actually know. Like (UGA freshmen) Justin Shaffer. Netori Johnson. I actually know (5-star UGA freshman) Isaiah Wilson. We really connect.”
“If I was to go there, then we would try to be like ‘The U.” in the old days. Because everyone knows each other. Everybody decided it was best to stay home and play together. That’s the only big difference now with how I feel about Georgia.”
When Cox visited for that Kentucky game, he also hung close with 2019 Georgia commits Rashad Cheney Jr. and Jadon Haselwood. It was clear he has relationships with both the present and current standouts on the Bulldog roster.
“We are always together,” Cox said. “We all know everybody. So why not?”
When he chose Ohio State last spring, he had seen a lot from Georgia. That Kentucky trip was somewhere in the range of No. 15 total for Cox to UGA.
In the end, it was Ohio State defensive line coach Larry Johnson. Johnson was the key cog in his decision to go out-of-state. Cox felt a genuine tug to Columbus because of Johnson’s track record of developing his guys for the NFL.
“Coach Larry Johnson keeps me committed to Ohio State right now,” Cox said. “I mean I don’t know the players up there at Ohio State like that. We come from different environments (from the players at UGA) and all. We all come from different stuff. I’ve just seen what coach Larry Johnson has done with some recent defensive ends and other defensive ends. I know he can do that same stuff for me.”
He said that his eventual college choice has been on his mind a lot.
“I think about it every day,” Cox said. “It is kind of close. I think about staying at home and going to Georgia or going up to Ohio State. But right now it is still Ohio State but (Georgia) is kind of gaining on them.”
Brenton Cox feels he can be developed at Georgia
Ohio State could develop him better for the NFL. That was perhaps the Cliff’s Notes version of why Cox chose the Buckeyes. There has been some progress on that front, too.
“That is still the same (with Ohio State) but I realize that how you develop is really up to you,” Cox said.
The nation’s No. 19 overall prospect pointed to recent UGA standout Leonard Floyd. Floyd was selected in the first round of the 2016 NFL Draft by the Chicago Bears.
“Leonard was a top-9 pick and he was at Georgia,” Cox said. “I feel like I could ultimately play that position better than he did if I went there. Because I am bigger. I can take on blocks better at the outside linebacker position.”
Cox is rated as the nation’s No. 2 strong-side DE by the 247Sports Composite. But he is being recruited to play OLB at Georgia.
The Bulldogs also have commitments from two very impressive options at the OLB position to join “The Wolfpack” for assistant coach Kevin Sherrer. Adam Anderson and Azeez Ojulari are also top 10 recruits for their position groups.
Anderson is the nation’s No. 2 OLB. Ojulari is the nation’s No. 5 weak-side DE. That said, Cox points to his size and frame as a different player than those two guys.
He’s right at 6 feet, 5 inches on the growth chart. He’s also up to 250 pounds. That’s at least 20 pounds heavier than Anderson and maybe 15 more than Ojulari.
“I feel like you need to hold some weight to play that position,” Cox said. “That was Georgia’s problem even against Auburn. You need the weight. Georgia had a guy in there that weighed maybe 240 pounds and he couldn’t take on the blocks. Then they put a 270-pound dude at that position and he couldn’t really ‘surf’ and get through those blocks and get to the ball fast.”
“I feel like I am around that 250-pound range and I can run. I feel like I would eventually be able to play that position as well as or better than anybody.”
He feels like that there will be a scholarship waiting for him at UGA if he wants one.
“I could come in and play and a big plus if that I would be able to come in early compared to those other guys,” Cox said. “That will help me get better faster.”
Does a win on Saturday matter to Brenton Cox?
The fan mentality is that a win against Auburn on Saturday will help the Bulldogs with an elite prospect like Cox. It will offer up proof positive that Kirby Smart’s program will no longer underachieve on a regular basis.
The Bulldogs will now plan in the big games that Ohio State always seems to.
But that’s just the way a fan might look at it. Elite talents like Cox do not usually carry that same mindset.
“It won’t really matter,” Cox said. “Because that’s not the group that I am going to be playing with. I am going to be playing with the younger group. It will matter more to me what the younger guys can do in the future.”
What’s going through his mind right now?
“This is one of the hardest decisions I have ever made in my life really,” Cox said. “People have been making it seem like if I go to Ohio State that I will be a top 5 picks. They’ve been making it seem like if I go to Georgia, then I will be a second-round pick. But for me, I just don’t know that.”
“For me, it is just the people that I will be playing with kinda make it hard, too. This is just a really hard decision in my life. I will just keep praying about it every day. God will let me know what is the right decision for me.”
He’s not sure about his official visit schedule yet. Look for him to plan the rest of his timeline out later this week.
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