Chans Cox receives top honors

Arizona linebacker Chans Cox was first evaluated by BYU assistant coach Paul Tidwell last year. Now the 6-foot-3-inch, 220-pound standout middle linebacker from Blue Ridge High School has four scholarship offers and was gaining more interest from various college recruiters even prior to being named as one of the top performers in the state of Arizona at a banquet on Friday.

Now that most bowl games are over, the recruiting scene is heating up just a little for junior Chans Cox. Recently, a few coaches made their way down to the state of Arizona to check in on the Blue Ridge middle linebacker.

"Coach Salem from Michigan State came and spoke to me [Thursday] and that was really cool," Cox said. "It was pretty awesome. He talked to me and really liked my size. He got a hold of my highlight tape and really enjoyed that. He liked my speed and told me he wanted me to come out to their campus sometime.

"Coach Pellum of Oregon has been wanting me to come up, so we'll see about that. Coach Huff of Boise State wants me to come up as well. As far as recent developments, that's been pretty much it."

Cox has been rated as a four-star linebacker for the class of 2013. However, much like BYU wide receiver commit Josh Weeks, Cox lives in a less accessible region of Arizona, making it difficult for recruiters.

"I live up in the mountains, so a lot of the coaches think I'm in the valley when in actuality I'm three hours away from the valley, so it makes it tough for coaches to get up here," Cox said. "It's pretty hard for a lot of coaches to get out here, but for some it hasn't stopped them from making the effort and showing interest."

One such coach that has made the effort a few times is BYU middle linebacker coach Paul Tidwell.

"He was actually the first coach to come up and see me and that happened last year," Cox said. "I was really excited when he came up here, especially last year being new to the whole recruiting process.

"In fact, Coach Tidwell came up here a few weeks ago and was happy to see me again. He just wanted to talk and, of course, come up to BYU's campus where I can get to know the rest of the coaches. He also wanted me to come out to maybe attend one of their camps, so that was really nice to see him and talk with him."

Tidwell visited Blue Ridge High School and spoke with head coach Paul Moro, who then called Cox in to speak with Coach Tidwell.

"Yeah, [Tidwell] came up to our school, and because I'm only a junior they can't really say much," Cox said. "He came in to check up on me and to see how things are going. He wants to get to know me in person.

"It's very important to me to get to know a coach. Being way out here in the middle of nowhere and to have a coach come out here to see me is really important and tells me a lot about the coach. I think it's important to develop that relationship, and to see a coach come out here just to do that makes me feel good. Like I said, it really says a lot."

Cox didn't finish his junior year of high school football following a shoulder injury.

"I dislocated my shoulder during the seventh game of the season," Cox said. "I just had surgery on my shoulder right before Christmas and it's in a sling right now. I'm getting ready to rehab it, and I've been talking to some of the coaches and they said it wasn't much of a problem. It also means a lot to me too to see some of these coaches come out to see me despite my injury and not playing the full year."

Cox currently has scholarship offers from Arizona, Arizona State, Boise State and Duke. Although he is leaving the door wide open, there are two things he will heavily consider before a final decision is made.

"Like I've said, I'm a big Christian guy and that faith aspect here at school is something I really like," Cox said. "That's something that I think will be a big determining factor on what school I choose. I want to go to a place where I can get a good degree, but I also want to go to a place where I can live my values. Those will be two big determining factors that will play into my decision, but right now I'm just keeping the door wide open."

Last week the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl game was held at Chase Field in Phoenix. There, Arizona's top players competed in a West versus East bowl game.

"My dad and I took a trip down there to see all the top juniors in Arizona and I was selected as one of those guys. We got to put our uniforms on and take pictures.

"We met up with a reporter and he took us over where Josh [Weeks] was and I got to talk with him and see all the seniors that were playing in the Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl game. It was cool to talk with Josh and it was cool that he had a good game. I was really pulling for him."

Cox spoke with Semper Fidelis Bowl selection committee member Tom Lemming, who gave him some good news for next year.

"[Lemming] said, ‘Well, do you want to play in this game next year?' I was like, ‘Oh yeah!' and he said, ‘Well, you're playing.'"

On Friday, Cox and other top Arizona prospects (including Weeks) were also honored at a banquet for the state's best players. Cox was a First-Team All-State selection.

"In Arizona, they award you as the best player in Division I or Division II, and so I got first-team which is over all divisions. It's basically for all of Arizona no matter what division you're in.

"I think Josh [Weeks] got the same award as I did, but for wide receiver."

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