The Mississippi State Bulldogs lost a lot of talent in their secondary last season with both Johnthan Banks and Darius Slay moving on. Banks, the 2012 Thorpe Award winner, will be especially missed from a Mississippi State defense that was underratedly stout last year. For that reason, the Bulldogs will be turning over the No. 1 corner position to JUCO transfer and early enrollee Justin Cox as spring practice opens.
At 6-foot-3, 190 pounds, Cox has the size to match up with any receiver in the SEC and even more impressively, he also has the speed to keep up with them. During early workouts, Cox impressed his new teammates by being one of the team’s fastest players. In addition to his size and speed, the scouting report on Cox is that he’s also a smart, tough cover-man who can turn it on every time he steps on the field.
During his career at East Mississippi Community College, Cox was incredibly productive as a safety. He recorded 11 interceptions and 19 passes while accounting for 119 tackles, including seven for loss. Even at the JUCO level, those are some eye-popping numbers, which made the Bulldogs’ decision to sign Cox even easier.
The coaching staff has raved about his aggressive playing style, describing him as a mix of Banks’ big-play ability and Slay’s relentless coverage skills. That makes him a perfect fit to step in right away and contribute and Mississippi State appears happy to hand him the starting job to lose this spring.
JUCO players rarely sign on to ride the pine, but Cox could turn into a special player who will become a leader of the secondary from his very first snap this spring.