Defensive lineman Bryan Cox Jr.is next up on our countdown to kickoff. Cox contributed to the Gators defensive line rotation last season after sitting out the year before with a wrist injury. He played in eight games, notching five tackles and two sacks. Cox got his first career sack in his third game, which was a 24-7 romp at Kentucky. He had his first multiple tackle game at Missouri, tallying two tackles, and added his second sack and multiple tackle performance of the season in the finale against Florida State. Cox saw increased playing time towards the end of the season after Florida’s defense was decimated with injuries.
Cox came to Florida in 2012 as a sought after recruit. He was rated as a three-star prospect, the 68th ranked prospect in the state of Florida, and 29th strong-side defensive end in the nation according to the 247 Sports Composite Rankings with tons of potential. He arrived in Gainesville checking in at 6-3 240 pounds and has bulked up to 260 pounds as he got prepared to face SEC offensive lineman. Cox played his high school football at powerhouse St. Thomas Aquinas in Ft. Lauderdale. As a high school junior, Cox played for a St. Thomas Aquinas team that went 15-0 en route to a Class 5A State Championship, as well as the national championship. In his senior season, he led the Raiders to a 10-3 record. He chose Florida over Louisville, Miami (FL), and Michigan State among others.
The name Bryan Cox might sound familiar to you. That’s because Bryan Cox Jr. is the son of the former NFL player sharing the same moniker. The elder Bryan Cox played 12 seasons from 1991-2002 with five different teams. He’s best known for his time with the Miami Dolphins, the team which drafted him, and the New York Jets. Cox’s best season came in his second year with the Dolphins. He had 127 tackles, including 14.0 sacks and five forced fumbles, one interception, and one fumble recovery. He was named a Pro-Bowler in the 1992, 1994, and 1995 seasons, all with Miami. He also won Super Bowl XXXVI in 2002 with the New England Patriots. Over his career, Cox had 764 tackles, 51.5 sacks, 22 forced fumbles, four interceptions, and two touchdowns (one fumble recovery, one INT return). Since playing with the Dolphins, Chicago Bears, Jets, Patriots, and New Orleans Saints, Cox has coached in the NFL. He served as an assistant defensive line coach for the Jets from 2006-2008, defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns the two years following that, had a short stint as a pass rushing coach with the Dolphins in 2010, coached the defensive front seven in Tampa Bay with the Buccaneers most recently, and currently is the defensive line coach with the Atlanta Falcons. It’s easy to see why Cox Jr. was such a big get for Will Muschamp when he signed in 2012. He certainly has a great example to learn from and model his game after.
After getting a year of playing time under his belt last season, Cox will likely start this year opposite of Dante Fowler Jr. at defensive end. He’s certainly got the size, strength, and reputation to make a big impact pressuring quarterbacks. He’s number 94 on our countdown, a tribute to the number he wears on Saturdays. You can follow Bryan Cox Jr.on twitter @BEECox_UF.