South Carolina quarterback Collin Hill (15) scrambles away from Florida linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. (1) during the second half of an NCAA college football game, Saturday, Oct. 3, 2020, in Gainesville, Fla. (AP Photo/John Raoux)

Brenton Cox Returns to Gators Football for Another Year

Florida Gators linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. decided to opt out of entering the draft to come back and play for head coach Billy Napier.

Before the draft, college players can put in paperwork to find out what their grade would be. This helps players find out what round they possibly would be picked in. After Cox put in his paperwork, he received a grade of a third or fourth round pick. These estimates were one of the few things that changed Cox’s mind into coming back to Florida.

Brenton Cox’s career at Florida

Cox for his first year and a half as collegiate football player attended the University of Georgia Athens in 2018. Halfway through his second season he made the decision to transfer to Florida and earned a redshirt. In 2020, he started in all 12 games for the Gators, racked up 41 tackles and four sacks.

Cox suffered from a foot injury during 2020 and was not sure if he could play to the best of his abilities in the 2021 season. However, this past season Cox started in all 13 games and committed 8.5 sacks.

He said he felt like he had more to do at Florida and his injury played a role in him wanting to come back and prove something to himself and the Gator nation. Every season his sack record increased and this upcoming season he looks towards breaking the sack record of 13.

Sets Goals for Next Season

Cox talked about during the press conference that next season he plans on going for a sack every half. To do that, he will be grinding and playing hard every chance he gets in every play.

His confidence and determination helped him get 4 sacks in the FSU game and when he had 4 tackle-for-losses in the UCF game. He believes that opponents will not be able to stop him and can do more than what people think because of his confidence in himself.

Gators’ Defense and New Outside Linebacker Coach

As the team goes to spring practice and learns to work with the new players and coaches, the defense’s goal stay the same: sack the quarterback. Cox mentioned that he is in the tight five this year instead of lose nine. According to him, it is a lot more difficult and quicker. Playing in this type of defense, his experience comes from high school when his team tried this defense.

The outside linebackers rely on new coach Mike Peterson. Peterson, a former Gator, aids the players with corrections and pushing them to go as hard as they can. Before Peterson came to Florida, Cox said he did his research on the new coach so that he knew the expectations.

When Cox starts to not play hard, Peterson tells him that “if he is not in the TV box by the time the play is over then it is a loaf.” This made Cox want to work harder.

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