Injury doesn't dampen Cox's spirits

On the second day of spring practice, Chans Cox arrived to practice with a walking boot on his right foot, the same foot he had injured in his senior year of high school. Both the linebacker and head coach Todd Graham said this was just a precautionary measure, which probably explains why the former Blue Ridge High School standout was still upbeat following Thursday's practice.

"Everything has been great so far, I'm loving the high tempo with Coach Graham and the defense," Cox said. "I feel like I fit in great with the defense, you know I'm just excited to get back at it. The coaches and the players have made me feel right at home."

The 6-3 225-pound Chans Cox has all of the tools to become a top-notch linebacker at the college level. A willingness to work and learn the game as well as the size to compete, Cox is definitely a good fit at Arizona State.

Turning down several suitors to become a Sun Devil, the Lakeside (Ariz.) player felt that staying in state was the best thing for him essentially because of the staff, which has been making a conscious effort to bring in Arizona's top talented players.

"The coaches are one of the main reasons I chose to come to ASU," Cox said. "Coach (Paul) Randolph being the linebacker coach makes me feel real comfortable at the position and being familiar with all of the other players at the position like Carl (Bradford)… it's definitely a good comfort zone."

Graduating from Blue Ridge High School in December and enrolling at Arizona State for the spring semester is sure to give Cox the upper hand on most incoming freshmen that will take the normal route of arriving in the fall.

"Being here early, I think it's going to have an impact, they've been having me at second string right now, behind Carl and I think it's a great opportunity and I'm just blessed to be at this position," Cox said.

Leaving high school a semester early where you're the focal point of your team and then coming to a BCS conference program where there are players that are as good as you if not better, does naturally take a while to get used to.

"It's definitely been a struggle transitioning but I'm starting to get used to it and it's starting to get a lot easier," Cox said. "Playing in that Army All-American game, that really helped me make the transition to here but it has been going good so far."

Cox said the only part of high school that he misses is the friends. At a time when he would be planning out his prom date, Cox is studying a new defense and trying to get acclimated with collegiate athlete's lifestyle; talk about a life changing experience.

Not only is the lifestyle different, but the level of play is leagues ahead of the high school game. At Blue Ridge, Cox had the opportunity to let his athletic ability speak solely for his play on the field. These days, there's some learning to do schematically, trying to figure out where he fits in this Todd Graham scheme.

"There's a big change from high school to college and I felt that I had a great first day getting familiar with the bases and everything," Cox said. "I'm studying all of the linebacker positions right now, I don't have a set spot. I'm just trying to get familiar with all of the calls and formations.

"I'm excited to get more into the tempo right now but that's something that you just got to get used to and that first day I could feel my confidence getting better throughout the day."


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