COLUMBUS, Ohio — Ohio State landing Brenton Cox was another huge success in an incredible recruiting run for defensive line coach Larry Johnson.
Cox, a native of Stockbridge, Ga., is a 4-star defensive end and the No. 44 overall prospect in the class of 2017, according to the 247Sports composite rankings. He chose Ohio State on April 25 over the in-state Georgia Bulldogs.
To learn what Cox can bring to Ohio State, Land of 10 caught up with Stockbridge High School football coach Kevin Whitley.
Q: Which of Brenton’s traits stand out on the football field?
Whitley: He has a great combination of size and speed. He plays hard, which is always important. But like I said, he’s 6-foot-5 and 245 pounds but he can run like he’s 5-foot-9. That’s a big help.
Q: When you first saw him play was it immediately obvious he could be this good?
Whitley: We knew he could be this type of player. It was just a matter of him putting in the work and getting stronger in the weight room and understanding the game and learning. He’s really done a great job with that. I don’t want to say it came overnight, but we always thought the potential was there and he’s put in the work.
Q: Over the past few years, how have you seen him improve?
Whitley: His knowledge of the game and watching film. He’s done a better job in the weight room and he’s developed into a leader. Those are all things he’s improved at, and he’s going to continue to improve in those areas.
Q: Is there a play he made that stands out in your memory as an example of what he can do?
Whitley: Not really one particular thing. For him, it’s impressive that once everyone realized how good he is that he’s still making plays. That’s been the biggest thing. He’s no secret. Everybody we play knows who he is and where he lines up. When people start game-planning for you and you can still make plays, you’re a pretty good player.
Q: How would you describe his style of play?
Whitley: He’s a really athletic player. I think he’ll fit in really well at the college level with what he can do. He already looks like he’s in college. Now it’s just a matter of him continuing to get better in the weight room and doing the things he needs to do. He’s a really good player that has a lot of room for improvement, but I think he’ll continue to improve.
Q: What was his recruitment like and how did he handle it?
Whitley: I think him and his mom did a great job. He had a chance to visit some schools and really felt like Ohio State was the school for him. They handled it rather well. They always asked questions, and they did a really good job with the process.
Q: How do you see him fitting in at Ohio State, and what kind of impact do you think he’ll make?
Whitley: I would imagine he’ll be a great fit there. I think he really enjoyed his visit to Ohio State, so the comfort level is there. He’s a big-time player who could fit at any school. It just depends on what role they have for him. I think right now most people are kind of deciding if he’s a down lineman or a standup outside linebacker, and I think he could do either one. But like I said, he’s really athletic and once he gets a little stronger he should have no problem competing up there.