Friday, January 9, 2009

Who is Joe Cox?

With Wednesday’s announcement that Matt Stafford is leaving Athens early for the NFL Draft, the position of quarterback for the Georgia Bulldogs falls onto the shoulders of soon to be 5th year senior Joe Cox. But, just who is Joe Cox and what can we expect from him in 2009?

Joe Cox committed to the Georgia Bulldogs out of Independence High School in North Carolina as part of the 2005 recruiting class. A powerhouse program in that state, Independence had previously produced Florida Quarterback Chris Leak and they never lost a game during Cox’s years at QB. His stats during those final two years speak for themselves:

2003 (Jr.)
Games: 16
Attempts: 373
Completions: 237
Comp %: 63
Yards: 3,983
TD: 43
Int: 11

2004 (Sr.)
Games: 11
Attempts: 363
Completions: 240
Comp %: 66
Yards: 4,509
TD: 66
Int: 5

After his senior year, Cox was awarded the Associated Press’s North Carolina Player of the Year Award. His 66 touchdowns passes were a state record and helped earn Cox a 4 star rating from various recruiting services. Cox had offers from a number of schools, including in-state ACC schools North Carolina State and Duke. In the end, the class of 2005’s 22nd ranked quarterback committed to the University of Georgia along with his high school teammate, wide receiver Mohammed Massaquoi.
Joe Cox arrived at The University in 2005 and was redshirted during his first fall. He gained experience on the UGA practice squad and was awarded the Outstanding Offensive Scout Team Player Award by the coaching staff. In 2006, Cox was in the middle of the three-way battle for the starting spot with Joe Terishinski and Matt Stafford. Cox saw limited playing time against Western Kentucky and UAB, but then came the Colorado game. With Tereshinski out from a leg injury and Stafford struggling, the Dawgs found themselves down 13-0 in the fourth quarter to a lowly Colorado squad.

Cox would enter the Colorado game and have the defining moment of his career at Georgia, thus far. Cox would lead the Bulldogs to two touchdown drives, including throwing the game winning touchdown pass to Martrez Milner:

Cox finished the game 10 out 13 for 154 yards and two touchdowns. He earned Sporting News College Football Player of the Week, SEC Freshman of the Week honors, and the right to start Georgia’s next game against Ole Miss. Cox would struggle against the Rebels, and eventually Matt Stafford took over as Georgia’s quarterback for the next few years.

Cox saw limited action during the 2007 and 2008 seasons. In the 2008 Georgia Southern game, he completed 4 of 6 passes for 48 yards and threw the first touchdown pass reception of AJ Green’s career. Cox also came into the game late in the second half of the loss to Florida and led Georgia’s most successful drive of the day. He threw Georgia’s only touchdown of the game, a beautiful touch pass to tight end Aron White. Through his junior year, Cox’s career stats include 33 completions on 58 attempts (57%) for 432 yards, 5 touchdowns, and only 1 interception (an overall quarterback rating of 145).

Now the job of starting quarterback has once again found its way into Joe’s hands. As a fifth year senior, I expect Cox to have solid year with a limited number of mistakes. With flanker AJ Green on one side and receivers like Michael Moore, Kris Durham, and Tavares King on the other, Cox should put up good stats in Mike Bobo’s system. Don’t expect Cox to make all of the amazing throws that Stafford made, as his arm is not as strong. However, what Cox lacks in arm strength he makes up for in accuracy and touch. With an improved offensive line and solid contributions from the running game, there is no reason Joe Cox cannot have a solid SEC season in 2009.

(Images courtesy of David Manning and

1 comment:

Sports Dawg said...

Hey Dawg Nation, we're in good hands with Joe Cox! Thanks for the post!