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 and Marquez Ezzard might lean plus add some perspective to help fans figure out what it all means.
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga. — Brenton Cox doesn’t sound firm about making a commitment to play college football anytime soon.
That’s going to be a downer to Georgia fans that hoped the 4-star prospect would join the class soon and be a galvanizing force to another Top 3 national finish in recruiting.
The 6-foot-5, 240-pounder just visited Alabama and that was another good visit. The nation’s No. 4 strong-side defensive end is also rated as the nation’s No. 58 overall prospect for 2018.
The playing formula might be that simple: Sign Cox. Get him coached up and add some more muscle. Voila. Instant pass rush off the edge.
Cox had 75 tackles and 18 sacks in 13 games last year for a powerful Stockbridge squad. He’s was an underrated 3-star recruit at the end of last season, but got a deserved rankings bump earlier this year.
How good is Cox? DawgNation rates him as one of the Top 5 targets that the Bulldogs can sign this season. He has that kind of rare ability off the edge.
The rising senior still has a lot of good things to say about Georgia and even Alabama. Yet the rest of his plan doesn’t seem as defined.
The one thing he did share that didn’t include a single iota of hesitation involved his close friend and teammate Marquez Ezzard. Ezzard is a flashy and explosive receiver from the Class of 2018 at Stockbridge.
Cox said they would play together in college. Without a doubt.
“I’m talking 10 times out of 10,” Cox said. “We’re going to play together. I’m talking about 10 times out of 10. For real. That’s happening”
Skeptics are always leery of package deals. It takes legit interest from a school in both players. But that relationship goes back a long way.
“That’s my boy right there,” Cox said. “He’s a great player. We grew up together. He’s like my brother.”
Packing up a package deal
Cox picked a good Tiger to pair up with. Ezzard has been a breakout recruit over the last few months. He dazzled in Rising Seniors practices, but that was to be expected given the on-field production he stacked up last year for Stockbridge.
The 6-foot-1, 205-pound prospect rates as the nation’s No. 20 athlete and the No. 269 player overall. Those measures are sure to receive a bump as he competes on the camp circuit.
He was offered by Ole Miss as a freshman and took another unofficial visit there last weekend. Don’t be fooled by that athlete stuff.
Ezzard is a receiver on Saturday. A big-play one at that. He took a slant route to the house at the Rising Seniors event and roasted the state champion Rome Wolves for three brilliant scores in a playoff meeting.
The big-play receiver finished the 2016 season with 50 catches for 1,015 yards and 12 touchdowns. He averaged 20 yards per reception and added another three rushing scores to his junior stat line.
Ezzard had nine catches for 212 yards against a future state champion team that night against Rome. He was at his best when his best was required. It was one of five 100-yard nights he posted last year on a strong team that won six games by more than 16 or more points.
Cox seems highest on Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State at this time. Clemson is also in the mix. Ezzard also has offers from, Alabama, Georgia and Ohio State.
It seems like that package deal talk would involve those three schools.
The latest on Brenton Cox
Cox said the same schools continue to come at him the hardest. He named off Georgia, Ohio State and Alabama in that specific order.
He said the timing of his decision is now in flux.
“It has changed a lot,” Cox said. “I might be able to wait it out now. I feel like if I just choose a school then I’d be set. I’d be more focused on my grades. I’d be more focused on my senior season. But then again that sounds too easy. I don’t know if I will be ready. I don’t think I’m ready yet.”
Where does Georgia stand with him right now?
“Oh yeah I like the Dawgs,” he said. “I feel like I can fit in there. They will always be in my Top 5 schools no matter what.”
Are there any other schools he feels the same way about?
“Oh yeah,” he said. “Alabama. Ohio State. Clemson somewhat a little bit.”
He has no leader and felt those top three schools were the same.
“Alabama is telling me the same things as everyone else is saying,” Cox said. “That I can fit in well there and work well in their defense.”
Cox does not plan to make his decision now before the start of his senior season.
“I’m not doing that anymore,” Cox said. “I was but I am not doing that anymore.”
He was named to the Under Armour “Future 50” earlier this year.
“I might just commit during the Under Armour game,” he said. “It will be after my senior season, though.”
He will make his second trip to Ohio State this weekend. Another key factor for Cox is timing. Cox plans to graduate in December and enroll early at his school of choice in January of 2018.
Most schools see him as a “Jack” linebacker that will line up at defensive end in an odd front. Clemson simply views him as a straight-up defensive end.
“I am at the point where I need to feel more at home,” Cox said. “Which I do feel more at home at Alabama and Georgia than anywhere else. I imagine I will go to more places and see more new things and I should be straight with my decision.”
If that happens, would that mean he might speed up that timeline?
“Not sure there,” Cox said. “I can’t really even give a date or think about a date when that would be when I would be ready right now.”
He did say that Georgia makes him feel like a priority “a little more” than all those other schools.
Getting to know Marquez Ezzard
Ezzard has the words “Dream Chaser” inked on the inside of his left arm. It covers his bicep.
That means what one might think it would. He also plays baseball. So that’s the NFL or Major League Baseball.
“I got it tattooed on me because it motivates me to chase my dreams and never give up on them,” he said.
He wants to study sports medicine in college. That aspiration is to be a trainer one day after his playing days end.
Ezzard has been measured with a wingspan of 73 inches.
“When do I plan to commit?” Ezzard said. “I haven’t really thought about it yet. Probably after my senior season.”
He said that all the schools that have offered him are recruiting him hard. But he felt that Ohio State, Georgia, Auburn and Oregon have been after him the hardest.
Ezzard does expect big things to happen in Athens.
“I feel like over the next two years they are going to have a great program,” Ezzard said. “Did you see all the 2017 guys that signed there? Them boys are some real Dawgs. I think they have a great program and a great future coming up.”
He aims to wear jersey No. 1 in college.
“My favorite route is the slant route,” Ezzard said. “That’s what I can do well, but I can run every route that a coach will want. I just want to be great and am willing to work harder than anyone else out there to get there.”
Unless otherwise indicated, player rankings and ratings are from the 247Sports Composite.