ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida has not yet received a ruling on the eligibility of former Georgia football outside linebacker Brenton Cox, so he didn’t play against Miami on Saturday night.
Gators athletic director Scott Stricklin told DawgNation before kickoff that Florida is still “waiting for more information” on Cox’s appeal for immediate eligibility.
While Cox didn’t dress out for the Saturday opener, he has been active in practices, working hard to impress his new teammates in Gainesville.
A recent social media post provided evidence of Cox’s positive mindset.
— Brenton Cox Jr. (@Brenton_cox) August 12, 2019
Stricklin indicated Cox went through a thorough vetting process before Florida accepted him into the program, like any other prospective transfer.
“We have a lot of people who are part of the process when a transfer is occurring, the coaching staff obviously, compliance, academics and myself,” Stricklin said Saturday night.
“There’s a lot of steps that have to be taken before you bring a kid in,” he said. “There have been kids that have come across our radar, as a department, that we say, ‘this is not a fit, or this is not a direction we want to go,’ so we have to be careful.”
Cox’s transfer from Georgia was a whirlwind.
The former 5-star recruit from Stockbridge, Ga., was signing autographs at UGA’s Fan Day on Aug. 3, reportedly parted from the team on Aug. 4, announced his transfer on Aug. 5 and was signing autographs at Florida Fan Day on Aug. 10.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart seemed to take the Cox transfer in stride when asked about it on Aug. 10, Smart’s first media availability after the transfer took place.
“Concerns? I don’t know about that,” Smart said. “Brenton chose to withdraw from the University of Georgia, going into the portal. He’s now at another SEC institution so we wish him nothing but the best and we appreciate his contributions while he was here.”
The 6-foot-4, 245-pound Cox had 20 tackles and a sack last season, appearing in 13 of the Bulldogs’ 14 games. Cox had a career-high six tackles in the 28-21 Sugar Bowl loss to Texas, making his only career start in place of injured All-SEC linebacker D’Andre Walker.
It was a tough season for Cox, who struggled with containment responsibilities, most notably after Walker was injured in the SEC Championship Game before Alabama’s comeback.
Things grew more challenging for Cox in the spring, when he was arrested on April 2 for misdemeanor marijuana possession.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart disciplined Cox and Robert Beal — who was also arrested on misdemeanor possession — in part by making them run steps during a scrimmage.
The Bulldogs have not had any off-field incidents reported since.
For Cox, it may prove to be as simple as needing a fresh start.
Cox has impressed his new teammates in Florida’s fall camp.
“Elusive guy, great off the ball,” tailback Lamical Perine told Florida’s Rivals.com site, Gators Territory. “He’s just a guy we glad to have, and he came from Georgia, so I’m pretty sure they kind of salty about that. Hey, we’ll take him. He’s a great guy.”
Receiver Trevon Grimes was even more impressed.
“He’s phenomenal; he’s good, he’s fast, he’s quick,” Grimes said. “He actually has some move that I’ve never seen before … a spin move, like reversal, crazy.
“He’s just gonna help our O-line get better.”
No doubt, that’s the sort of performance Cox’s high school resume has suggested.
A 2018 Under Armour All-American, Cox was named to the 2017 All-State Class 5A First Team defense by the AJC and the Associated Press.