Over the next 94 days, GatorCountry will preview the players that make up the 2013 Florida Gators football team as we inch closer and closer to the season.
Each day we will count down using the player whose jersey number corresponds with how many days there are left until Florida kicks off against Toledo in the Swamp on August 31.
Today we take a look at redshirt freshman Bryan Cox Jr.
In the interest of being completely open and honest with you all, I am and will always be partial to players who come from St. Thomas Aquinas. Having attended St. Thomas I have a soft spot for fellow Raider alumni like Marcus Gilbert, Major Wright, Cody Riggs and Marcus Roberson. With my blatant St. Thomas Aquinas homer spiel out of the way, let’s get into our player of the day.
Bryan Cox Jr. is the son of Bryan Cox, a former pro-bowler and All-Pro for the Miami Dolphins. Senior currently works for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a defensive assistant working with the front seven. Junior is coming off of a redshirt season where he addressed his most pressing need of adding size to his frame.
Cox was listed at 6’3” 230-pounds in high school but has added some noticeable muscle to that frame and is now listed at 260 pounds. Jeff Dillman must have some type of miracle grow in that weight room of his. While at 230-pounds you could hardly call him small, Cox looks like a grown man now as you can see in the picture of him from spring practice.
Cox Jr. committed to Florida over other schools like Miami, Michigan State, Louisville, North Carolina and Vanderbilt.
Cox worked most of the spring in Florida’s Buck linebacker spot but he can also play with his hand down as a more traditional defensive end – the position he played in high school.
Cox has a quick initial move and gets off of the line quickly. He has good speed to get around tackles and uses good leverage when taking on blockers. He has good hands that keep linemen from getting inside of his pads and can shed blocks fairly easily.
His added size hasn’t impacted the speed that made him a successful player in high school but rather added another element to his game. Cox now has the size to hold up week in and week out in the SEC and take on some of the 300-plus pound offensive linemen he will see in the SEC.
We really haven’t seen Cox in coverage, something that is asked of all the players who play BUCK, but he doesn’t have much experience dropping back in coverage.
Cox needs to work on his fluidity and technique as a pass rusher. He can become too stiff at times and needs to stay low out of his stance.
How will he stand up to SEC offensive linemen? We saw Cox win some battles this spring and he had his fair share of battles with D.J. Humphries. The big question is can Cox pressure the quarterback and hold up against the run enough to earn a serious spot in the defensive line rotation.
What to Expect
While Cox worked most of the spring at BUCK, he came out of spring as Jonathan Bullard’s backup at defensive end. We know that Dominique Easley is going to play end, defensive tackle and even some nose tackle, so where does Bryan Cox fit into the rotation when Easley is at defensive end?
I think Cox Jr. will make an impact this season but he’s going to have to battle for reps and make the most of the opportunities that are presented to him. He’s already impressed with his dedication in the weight room and had a very good spring, now it’s time to keep the ball rolling and make an impact on Saturday afternoon in the Swamp.