Cox Discusses Preparations To Be College QB

Quarterback Brandon Cox, who was the state of Alabama's Mr. Football pick as a high school senior, is already working out at AU to get ready for his freshman season.

Auburn, Ala.--Last summer when Brandon Cox was impressing opponents and coaches at a seven-on-seven passing camp on the Auburn campus, the left-handed quarterback was more than just a little skinny.

However, the six-foot-three-inch Cox proved that looks can be deceiving because he was the most impressive quarterback at the session with his good mobility and pinpoint accuracy throwing the football for Coach Jack Wood's Hewitt-Trussville High School team.

A year later, Cox is back on the Auburn campus and he is still hitting receivers with accuracy on short, medium and long-range routes. And, he looks more like a college quarterback with nearly 25 extra pounds of muscle on his six-foot-three-inch frame.

Brandon Cox is shown throwing a pass during the summer prior to his senior season at Hewitt-Trussville High.

"I am up to 194 pounds," notes Cox after finishing an informal workout with the other quarterbacks, plus the receivers and running backs. Cox and the other 2002 signees will officially begin their college football adventure next month with two-a-days. The quarterback is getting a head start by taking a summer class at Auburn and throwing the football several times a week with his future teammates.

Cox says that eating more food, lifting weights more frequently and taking dietary supplements have helped him gain weight. He hopes to get even bigger by the start of the 2002 season.

Cox prepares to throw a pass as senior quarterback Daniel Cobb watches the action.

A three-sport standout at Hewitt-Trussville, Cox gave up baseball this past spring to concentrate on getting ready for his freshman season in college. He was a second team All-State pitcher as a junior. "I think not playing baseball this year helped me a lot in gaining weight," he says. "I weighed just 170 pounds earlier this year when we wrapped up basketball season. When I reported to Auburn this summer I weighed 185 so I have added some more weight. I hope to get to at least 200 pounds by the start of the season."

Instead of pitching a baseball in the spring, he worked on his football throwing motion prior to leading the Alabama All-Stars to a victory in their annual football game in Mobile vs. the Mississippi All-Stars. He was named Most Valuable Player in that contest, which was the official end of his high school career that included big numbers and lots of awards, including the title of Mr. Football for the state of Alabama as a senior.

"Throwing all week getting ready for the all-star game really helped a lot," he says. "Throwing out here on the practice fields has helped a lot, too. My arm is getting back into shape. I am definitely in the best shape of my life. Coach Yox (Kevin Yoxall) will get you in shape."

Even though he is likely to be redshirted, Cox is training hard. "We come at 5:30 a.m. to work out," he says. "Some of the guys work out at two in the afternoon when it is really hot and it is still hot when we throw in the afternoon."

Cox says he and fellow freshman quarterback Josh Sullivan, a walk-on from Little Rock, Ark., are watching football videos this summer to get a head start on learning the offense. New offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino will be Cox's position coach. Petrino can't start coaching Cox until freshman practices begin after the August 4th reporting date.

"Coach Petrino said we would go into the season and see how things go," Cox says. "He said I would possibly redshirt, but we would wait until we decide on that."

Cox, an honor student in high school, is taking his first college class along with his favorite receiver from high school, Lee Guess, who will also be a freshman on the 2002 Tigers. "It is an ethics class and I am in there with Lee and Will Ward, who I got to know pretty well playing with him on the all-star team. He did a good job of blocking (Timmy) Duckworth, who is an exceptional player. I am looking forward to playing with Will here at Auburn."

Ward is a center from Prattville High School and one of four Auburn offensive line signees who are on campus this summer working out. Duckworth, who is from Taylorsville, Miss., High, signed with Auburn to play on the defensive line. He was the outstanding lineman for the Mississippi all-stars in this year's game in Mobile.

Lee Guess (left) and Brandon Cox are shown at a recent workout on the Auburn campus.

Cox and Guess put up huge numbers at Hewitt-Trussville High School. Last fall, the left-hander completed 233-329 passes for 2,887 yards and 27 touchdowns. Guess caught 93 of those passes for 1,341 yards with 12 receiving touchdowns to earn All-State honors for a second straight season. "It is good to have somebody you know here at college so you are not alone," Cox says. "I talked to Coach (Tommy) Tuberville and he told all of the freshmen that everybody gets homesick their first year. You just have to stick through it and you will have fun. I am already having fun and having Lee here has been good. We have gotten to know a lot of other guys."

Tiger Ticket Extra: Cox set a Class 6A state single season record by completing 70.8 percent of his passes in 2001. He finished his high school playing days with 5,417 passing yards as he completed 68.7 percent of his tosses, which is a state record. He was named to the Max Emfinger, PrepStar and SuperPrep All-America teams. The All-State pick was named Alabama's Class 6A Back of the Year, the Birmingham News Player of the Year, The Birmingham Touchdown Club Player of the Year and was named to the Huntsville Times Elite 11...Jack Wood was a highly successful head coach at Hewitt-Trussville, but he has left coaching to take a job with HealthSouth. Wood says that Auburn is getting a very good quarterback. "He is the all-time leader in completion percentage at nearly 71 percent," Wood notes. "It is hard to complete that many passes going against air. He was a great leader for us on the field and a model citizen off the field. He is an honor student and a very smart football player. He is the most accurate passer I have ever seen in my 29 years of coaching."...Petrino, Auburn's new offensive coordinator, says that Cox showed good arm strength in high school, but notes that with added size and maturity he will be an even stronger passer in college. Petrino has had success coaching left-handed quarterbacks, which was a selling point for the Tigers as they recruited Cox, who chose Auburn over LSU, Florida and others.

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