When his father, former NFL All-Pro Bryan Cox, was hired by the Miami Dolphins as an assistant coach, defensive end Bryan Cox Jr. decided to make a move south. The younger Cox left his Avon, Ohio, home for South Florida and is now enrolled at Fort Lauderdale (Fla.) St. Thomas Aquinas. He will be part of the defending state champs squad this season.
With a change of address, it has led to a few other changes for the talented football prospect.
"Obviously, coming from Ohio the weather has been a big change because it gets a lot hotter down here," Cox Jr. said. "The workouts are run military-style. They are intense. It has been a lot different coming from Avon. Avon is a great school and they do a great job with everything, but down here it is just different."
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The 6-foot-3, 240-pound defensive end is getting used to his new surrounding and working out with his new teammates. Among those he will be playing alongside is defensive end Jelani Hamilton, a Miami commitment, as well as other major Division I targets such as running backs Dami Ayoola and Fred Coppet. While Avon has a strong history of producing talent, Cox Jr. admits it seems like a football factory at his new home.
"All we are doing right now is lifting weights and what not," Cox Jr. said. "You can tell when you walk into the room, the difference. You are in a room full of athletes and good players. I am just looking forward to playing with these guys and cleaning up out there."
Cox Jr. said he knows what to expect when it comes to competing with the Florida high school ranks.
"I definitely think it will be different," Cox Jr. said. "You can't say football is football, especially at the high school level. Different states have different levels of talent. Down in Florida, I expect them to be a lot faster than they may have been in Ohio but they may not be as big. In Ohio, they are bigger but slower. A lot of factors play into it. I think I am going to excel no matter what because I have put a lot of work in and prepared to do well no matter where I play."
Even before the move, the three-star defensive end was firmly on the radar of colleges around the country.
As a junior, Cox recorded 37 tackles, deflected three passes and forced a fumble. He was part of an Avon squad that had a 10-0 regular season, but fell short in the playoffs.
"Right now I have a total of 17 offers," Cox Jr. said. "I haven't really narrowed them down to a top five, top three, or any of that. I am just pretty much taking it all in because I have one more year to play and I am going to focus on this year and this season. My dad has told me he doesn't want me to commit until after my season, so I haven't narrowed anything down or anything like that. I am going to wait to do that."
N.C. State was most recent offer, tendering him last week. The Wolfpack join Akron, Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Louisville, Miami, Michigan State, Minnesota, North Carolina, Ohio, Pittsburgh, Syracuse, Vanderbilt, West Virginia and Youngstown State. Others such as Cincinnati, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Ohio State and Virginia Tech have shown interest.
Cox Jr. believes the list will expand with a strong senior season and that his move may also lead to some new eyes on him.
"Playing at St. Thomas, which is a flagship program, and being down South now, I think I may get some new schools showing attention to me," Cox Jr. said. "I don't know what is going to happen so I don't want to make any decisions right now and limit my opportunities. I want to know my full extent of offers before I do anything."
While he claims no leader or favorites, Cox Jr. admits two schools have been able to make an impression on him at this juncture.
"The 'U' has made a good impression and so has North Carolina," Cox Jr. said. "Those would be the two that I would probably say, so far, have made a good impression."
The Tar Heels were the first school to offer him, last summer during a camp visit.
"North Carolina was my first offer," Cox Jr. said. "I went to their camp last summer and did well. I came back after the camp, a few hours after, and they offered. They showed me around the campus, it was nice, beautiful. I just really enjoyed it there."
Miami's offer came this past spring when Cox Jr. made a trip down to the Sunshine State to visit his future high school and see his future home.
"They had been sending me a lot of mail and what not but I visited on spring break and that is when I got the offer," Cox Jr. said.
When it comes time to decide, Cox Jr. is up to moving anywhere to play as long as everything fits what he wants in his future home.
"From a football standpoint I want a close team with a coaching staff that has been together," Cox Jr. said. "I want a place with nice surroundings, in a nice city or town, with a nice campus and things to do - what any kid would want. I also want them to be a contender for a BCS national championship.
"Away from football I am looking for a place that has a good academic program, depending on what I want to major in," Cox Jr. added. "I want a place that helps prepare me for life after football and after college."