BYU eyeing junior Arizona linebacker

BYU linebacker coach Paul Tidwell is hot on the trail for a four-star linebacker out of Blue Ridge High School in Arizona with four current offers. Chans Cox had a successful junior season, and likes what BYU has to offer.

At 6 feet 3 inches and 220 pounds, Chans Cox is a force on the football field.

"I ended up having a great year," Cox said about his junior season. "In my sophomore year I started out at linebacker and finished the season really well, so this year I was looking to come out and have a great season. I was pretty upset because in the third game of the season I dislocated my shoulder, so that really set me back, but I rehabbed it and was able to come back. I ended up finishing up the season really well."

Cox came towards the end of the season and led his team through the state playoffs.

"We won state and that was awesome," said Cox. "We played Show Lo High School and in that game I had a really good game. I played both linebacker and fullback and was able to score a touchdown, so I had a really good game going both ways.

"I was just happy that I was able to come back and finish the season. I was awarded the Defensive Player of the Year and was also awarded the All-Arizona Team for linebacker. I'm really happy with what I was able to accomplish despite the games that I missed."

In the state championship game, Cox faced none other than BYU wide receiver commit Josh Weeks. Weeks holds multiple high school state records.

"There is just one word for him and that's ‘stud,'" said Cox about Weeks. "Last year he was playing out at receiver because they had a pretty good quarterback who was an athlete too. This year they put Josh at wildcat because he's such an athlete. He's really good.

"Josh was doing good against us but then we changed up our defense and were able to stop them. He ended up breaking a rib, or something like that, and had to sit out. They then went to a throwing game and it was pretty much over after that."

After the game, Cox was able to talk to Weeks.

"Yeah, I kind of felt bad for him and went up to him and spoke to him after the game," said Cox. "I told him that I wished him the best because he's really good. I mean, when he hits his stride most people don't realize how fast he is. Once he gets into that open field, I mean, he's gone."

Despite having competed against each other on the football field, Cox and Weeks have grown close.

"Yeah, Josh and I are definitely close," Cox said. "I talked to him right after the game about his injury and wished him the best. I texted Josh and told him that I tried to call Coach Tidwell but he missed my call. He said he had just gotten off the phone with him and to call him back."

Cox called Coach Tidwell last Monday night.

"He was really excited to hear from me," Cox said. "I called him back and we got a chance to talk. It went really well and Coach Tidwell is a great guy. It was really good and we're building a relationship."

Next week, Coach Tidwell will be making a trip down to Arizona.

"He's actually coming up next Friday to go see and talk to Josh Weeks," said Cox. "He's also going to come down and check up on me as well, and so I'm really excited about that. He's a great guy."

Cox and Weeks have also talked with each other about playing at the next level.

"We've talked about how cool it would be to be teammates in college," Cox said. "We talked about how cool it would be for both of us from the White Mountains going to BYU. We talked about it and it would be pretty cool."

If it were up Weeks, Cox would end up playing for BYU.

"Yeah, he talks about it and said he would throw in a word and do whatever he can to get me out there," Cox said with a laugh. "It's funny talking about it with Josh. He's a cool kid."

Coach Tidwell is doing his part to sway Cox towards BYU.

"Last year he came up and was the first coach to visit my school and came up a few times and saw me," said Cox. "We've already started building a relationship and Coach Tidwell wants me to come up to camp at BYU to get to know some of the other coaches and start to build that relationship as well. He really was the first one to get a hold of me and want me to visit. He just said he really wants me to get out there and go to a camp so they can see if they would like to offer me or not."

Cox currently has offers from Arizona State, Arizona, Boise State and Duke. He wants to take some visits, but doesn't have any official plans yet.

"I have offers from Boise State, and they're really excited about me and so I want to get out there. BYU wants me to come out for a camp and to check out the campus, but I'm going to have to see how everything goes. I have to see how my shoulder rehab goes, but there are a few different camps that I want to get out to and check out. It just depends on how everything goes with my shoulder."

BYU generally likes to get prospects on campus to do a further evaluation of the athlete outside of football.

"Yeah, they want you to come on campus to get to know you better and see what kind of person you are or what kind of morals you have," Cox said. "They want to see what kind of character you have, not just on the field, but off the field. That's why they want me to come out there on campus."

Cox wouldn't mind getting an offer from BYU.

"It would be a great honor because they don't just evaluate on part of you when deciding to offer," said Cox. "If I got a scholarship from BYU it would show that I not only met their requirements as a football player but also met their character standards off the field. It would be a great honor."

Cox likes the type of environment found at BYU.

"I'm not LDS but I'm a strong Christian," he said. "Having that kind of surrounding at the college level means a lot to me. That is something I really look into in all these schools. I think that's why BYU has shown interest in me and wants those kinds of kids that are more than just football players."

Aside from the four scholarships in hand, Cox is also hearing from other notable colleges.

"Nebraska is really looking at me as well as Tulsa, Oregon, Oregon State and Michigan State. Those are pretty much the schools that I'm keeping in touch with."

So what exactly is Cox looking for at the college level?

"Well, I'm looking at the faith aspect of a college and that's the thing," Cox said. "That really means something to me. Then the relationship I have with the coaches and players – I don't want to go to a place and be miserable the whole time because I don't feel like I fit in. I want to have the relationship with my coaches to where I can joke around and be close with them off the field, but then when it's time to play we can be focused and serious. I still have one more year left to play high school ball but I have a pretty good idea of what I want to look for at the next level."

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