By Jim Halley, USA TODAY High School Sports | September 8, 2017 4:50 pm ET
— All-America Game (@AllAmericaGame) September 8, 2017
Stockbridge, Ga., defensive end Brenton Cox doesn’t have a favorite place yet to eat in Columbus, Ohio, but that’s definitely a goal for the Ohio State commit.
“They have some good food, but I haven’t found a place that I really like,” Cox said. “I have to keep going up there to try different food spots. In Stockbridge, we have Zaxby’s or Waffle House. Everybody meets at Waffle House after the game.”
Cox got his honorary jersey Friday afternoon as part of the American Family Insurance Selection Tour for the Under Armour All America Game. It was a busy day for Cox with his team playing Dutchtown (Hampton, Ga.) on Friday night.
“They say it’s a rivalry, but they never beat us, so I don’t know,” Cox said.
Cox is a preseason American Family Insurance ALL-USA player. He said he chose the Under Armour game because he got to see the set-up last year when he went to the Under Armour Future 50 Underclassmen Camp in Orlando in December and he has more connections to Florida.
“(I chose the Under Armour game because of) my experience seeing what they actually do and my family is originally from Tampa, so a lot of my family could get to the game, versus going to Texas,” he said. “Plus, I really like Under Armour better than Adidas.”
Last season, he led Stockbridge with 75 tackles and 18 sacks, so he got plenty of chances to practice his post-sack celebration.
“It’s like a little pose I do, arms-folded, rock side-to-side pose,” Cox said.
In his first game this season, he had six tackles, a sack and a forced fumble. Last week, while battling a hand injury, he had 12 tackles and later gave a shout out on Twitter to the team trainer.
— B R E N T O N (@Brenton_cox) September 4, 2017
Cox, like many of the elite defensive end prospects, could just as easily play linebacker, even at 6-5 and 250 pounds. One big area of improvement he’s focused on is his handwork against offensive linemen.
“I would spend whole practices with my personal trainer where we don’t do running, it’s just all hands, all day,” Cox said. “Punching drills and violent fast hands all practice.”
This year, the Tigers are 2-0 and have allowed only one touchdown and that was through the air.
“We don’t give up the running plays,” Cox said. “Last year, we didn’t do that good against the run, but since then we’ve all gained weight, so we’re just not pass rushers.”
Cox, who committed to Ohio State in April, said he plans to enroll early in Columbus.
“I just feel like if you go early, you don’t have to go through that ‘just getting here’ stage. If you don’t have to go through that stage, you’re more ready to play.”
While his commitment is solid, he said he prefers the soft-sell approach toward getting other elite players to sign with the Buckeyes.
“I haven’t been trying to get Micah Parsons,” Cox said. “If you go, you go. I want people who really want to be there. I don’t want to have to beg you to go. There are other DL’s who are solid and I don’t know when they’re going to come out and say it.”
He said he hasn’t learned to despise Michigan — yet.
“I don’t know anybody at Michigan,” Cox said. “I know maybe one person, but I guess I’m going to gain the hate when I go.”