November 25, 2010

Starring role for Cox

When Fletcher Cox signed with Mississippi State in 2009 he was one of the Southeast's most highly recruited defensive ends at 6-foot-4, 240-pounds.

Fast forward two years and Cox has packed on 60-pounds of muscle since joining the Bulldogs and makes up one half of possibly the top sophomore defensive tackle tandems in the Southeastern Conference along with Josh Boyd.

Cox has played in 22 games already during his still young MSU career earning 13 starts during that span including four as a true freshman. The former four-star prospect has recorded 56 tackles, 10 stops for loss, 3.5 sacks, one fumble recovery as well as blocking three kicks.

"I was a backup last year and when the starters would come to the sideline I'd be asking those guys what did they see and what's the snap count," Cox said. "Now that I'm the first guy on the field I've got guys behind me asking me the same questions so I have to pay attention to things like that."

Cox has played in 10 games this season and made nine starts, missing one game due to an ankle injury suffered on a cheap shot down the field late by Georgia's Ben Jones. He has still managed to make 27 stops, 6.5 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, four quarterback hurries, recovered a fumble and blocked a kick in 2010.

Cox credits his sophomore success to the new aggressive defensive scheme cooked up by first year Bulldog coordinator Manny Diaz.

"It's a whole lot more fun getting after people," Cox said. "(Diaz's) defensive scheme is attacking and we're a tackle for loss defense."

Cox has also flourished under the tutelage of co-coordinator and defensive line coach Chris Wilson, who was brought in from Oklahoma in the offseason to replace David Turner.

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