It’s always a nice story when a local kid grows up and gets to play for the team he’s always rooted for. It’s what makes Rudy such a great movie. It gets even better when that kid can be a star on the field, as freshman linebacker Chans Cox has the opportunity to do with the Arizona State Sun Devils.
Cox, the No. 3 recruit in the state of Arizona this recruiting season, grew up in ASU territory and always cheered on the Sun Devils as a kid. The 6-foot-3, 230-pound football star turned in a historic prep campaign, compiling a 40-2 record at Blue Ridge high school as a three-year, two-way starter and appeared in three state title games. He’s already a bit of a local legend, but nearly skipped out on joining the Sun Devil program.
Up until Todd Graham came to town, Cox wasn’t even considering ASU because of their notorious reputation for being undisciplined. Graham was able to change Cox’s perspective on the program quickly, creating a strong bond with the lifelong fan and swaying him to stay close to home. Cox says that as soon as he met with Graham he “really bought into what he was pitching.”
Graham recognizes what getting a player of Cox’s caliber to stay in-state means to the state of the ASU program. Keeping the state’s top-talent has been a problem in recent memory for both Arizona State and the Arizona Wildcats (the top two recruits both left state this year as well), but Graham sees Cox as a changing of the guard in the desert and a sign of an ASU program on the rise.
Both parties are eager to get that rise started, too, as Cox enrolled early to participate in spring practice and prove himself to coaches and teammates before next fall. He has the speed, strength and versatility to step right in and contribute as a freshman, possibly emerging as the starting “Devilbacker” in 2013. The extra time in spring will give him a chance to find a role in what should be one of the most talented defenses in the Pac 12 next season.
The local Sun Devils fans are chomping at the bit to see the local kid do good and they may not have to wait long to see him achieve it.