Jeff Sentell /
4-star Stockbridge DE Brenton Cox currently rates as the nation's No. 4 DE and as the No. 54 player overall.

What may help UGA hold off Ohio State in the chase for elite pass rusher Brenton Cox

Jeff Sentell

Want a daily lap through Georgia football recruiting? That’s what the Intel will bring at least five days a week. We’ll cover the news and which way this 4-star like Brenton Cox might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.


Brenton Cox doesn’t know yet where he will play college ball yet. He acknowledged that it will be a very hard decision.

The nation’s No. 4 DE this year plays for Stockbridge High. Cox rates as the nation’s No. 54 overall prospect at that. He’s one of the alpha priorities for UGA in 2018.

Cox feels Georgia and Ohio State lead the field right now. Alabama — a school he’s told DawgNation that he can also see himself at — has slipped from his top group.

Brenton Cox
Stockbridge 4-star DE Brenton Cox was an unofficial visitor at UGA-Auburn last fall. (Jeff Sentell / AJC)

When will he make his decision? Cox can parry that query with a quick word. It seems like the same hand slap he uses to get a big tackle’s mitts out of his grill.

It sounds like he’s granting himself a personal extension when he says that.

“It might be a little before after my season ends,” Cox said. “I am graduating early so I want to get it out of the way. Maybe I go into my season with my mind clear.”

It means he still needs a lot more time to sort that one out. That honesty is welcomed. Especially when choosing between the in-state Bulldogs and another esteemed program like Ohio State.

“The position I play is the big pull right now for me with Georgia,” Cox said. “Staying close to home to my family would be big. That’s really all Georgia really means for me right there. The position I play, the proximity to the family and then I can get some early playing time.”

Cox did tell DawgNation one edge the Bulldogs will have in their corner.

“My family is all 100 percent Dawgs there,” Cox said. “They don’t want me to go out-of-the-state anywhere with that. They all want to see me at Georgia.”

Ohio State simply cannot counter that. If this discussion was about the best player in Cleveland or Toledo this year, then that playing field would tilt toward the scarlet-and-gray.

Hitting the brakes on that package deal

Cox put up some measures at the Atlanta Opening regional on Sunday. 6 feet. 5 more inches beyond that. 250 pounds.

“I think my game is speed and power,” Cox said. “All of that. I might be doing finesse moves and then in a minute I will turn the power on them.”

Cox told DawgNation earlier this month that “10 times out of 10” he would be a package deal with his Stockbridge teammate. That’s 4-star impact WR Marquez Ezzard.

Well, maybe that 11th rep will prove to be the anomaly.

Cox said that UGA grew up as his dream school and continues to recruit him as hard as any other school along with Ohio State. (Jeff Sentell

“I don’t know about that anymore,” Cox said. “We have got our differences. I don’t know. He’s on the other side of the ball so I can’t really say if that offense or this offense is good for him. I’m going off by the defense. He’s judging the offense. (Georgia) doesn’t throw the ball but it has a good defense.”

The Ohio State connection

Cox says it is really all about him now. What he is looking for is his best fit. He said that UGA and Ohio State were neck-and-neck.

“Alabama was in it and I guess they still are,” Cox said. “But (Alabama) is not recruiting me as hard as they once were. They are not recruiting me as hard as both Georgia and Ohio State still do.”

Which program is coming after him harder? Cox couldn’t say whether it was Bulldogs or Buckeyes with that one.

Brenton Cox
Brenton Cox said he feels like Georgia and Ohio State will be the teams his choice comes down to in the end. (Jeff Sentell /

With his family decidedly pro-UGA, Cox described what it was like for him to also strongly consider Ohio State.

“I guess it goes well when I bring up Ohio State,” Cox said. “But we are all originally from Tampa in Florida. So my family really doesn’t like the cold. My mom does say this decision is all for me. So she will tolerate it. She said she will keep an open mind about Ohio State. I think she will like it.”

Cox said distance is another factor in those early family talks.

“It is a nine-hour drive,” Cox said. “But then I tell them that you can fly anywhere in the world.”

Georgia’s most impressive pitch of late

Cox said that UGA is already putting all its cards on the table. He’s been to Athens so many times that he can’t even count them all up.

His first trip to Athens came when he was in the eighth grade. The 4-star recruit wasn’t sure when he took his last visit to Georgia.

He does know that his next time will not be any later than G-Day on April 22.

“The most impressive thing that Georgia has said to me lately has been the number I might get,” Cox said. “That’s No. 1. They said I could get No. 1 at Georgia. That would mean a lot.”

He said that he would like to wear that single digit right now at Stockbridge, but his good buddy Mr. Ezzard beat him to claim that one.

No other school has tried to seal the deal with that jersey number.

Brenton Cox
Brenton Cox did favor Alabama for a time but now feels that the Crimson Tide is no longer one of his top schools. (Jeff Sentell / SEC

“Ohio State is dropping No. 8 on me right now,” Cox said. “That’s the number that I wear right now at Stockbridge.”

Cox did feel his decision has evolved to the point it will be either Georgia or Ohio State.

“That’s what it feels like right now,” Cox said. “I don’t know what will eventually separate one school from the other school with that. It just has to feel like the school that is home to me. I have to really feel like I am at home.”

Look for him to take a trip to South Carolina soon. He just visited Auburn.

“It was good to compare for me,” Cox said. “It was a chance to see Auburn, but for me it is kind of hard to like Auburn a lot for me. They offered kind of late.”

When he compares that feeling to a UGA or an Ohio State, it just doesn’t feel the same way.

“I’ve been going to Georgia since I was in the eighth grade,” Cox said. “Do youknow how it is when you watch an old movie that you like? Every time you watch it you then see different stuff you like every time that makes you love it more. That’s how I feel about Georgia.”