RECRUITING: Memphis LB still has Gators in Top 4

Memphis Harding Academy's Todd Cox, rated number 17 in the nation by as a linebacker, had an impressive senior season as he went both ways for his team. His play at linebacker, though, is what has the scouts buzzing. caught up with Todd Cox this week for an update on where he stands with Florida and with other schools.

The Florida Gators are in search of more than a few good men to man the linebacker corps for the 2005 version of the Gators recruiting class. The Gators will lose one of their six scholarship linebackers to graduation, and the possibility is there for All-SEC linebacker Channing Crowder to go pro. That would leave four scholarship linebackers on the spring roster for the Gators, whose defensive scheme under new Coach Urban Meyer will have three linebackers in its base sets. Cox has the speed and ability to compete for early playing time if he chooses Florida on signing day.

Is he interested in the Gators? "I like the style of football they play," he said. "They are in the SEC an I like the conference."

Is open to visiting the Gators now that a new coaching staff is shaping up, and has he spoken to any Florida coaches since the announcement of Meyer as the head coach?

"Yes I am supposed to be taking a visit, the second week in January" he said. "I talked to the wide receivers coach (he didn't know his name)."

Cox told us he is up to 6-2 and 205 pounds now. He will continue to increase his strength and size as he prepares to play linebacker at the next level. He should be able to gain weight without losing in the speed department. He is well documented as a big time hitter.

He lists four schools that have his interest, but no particular favorite among Tennessee, Florida, Miami and Auburn. He attended games at Tennessee, Ole Miss and Memphis this year. It seems that he isn't all that interested venturing far from home, and when asked if he would be willing to move more than a stone's throw from Memphis he answered honestly, "I might, I'm not sure though."

From everything gleaned from interviews and my conversation, it seems as though Cox would love to dawn the bright orange of the Tennessee Volunteers. We asked him what team he liked growing up and weren't surprised.

"Growing up my favorite college team was the Tennessee Volunteers," he said, "but that doesn't necessarily mean I will go there."

Cox is going to make some school's recruiting class much better. The Gators have such a dire need at the linebacker position he would be more than icing on a good class, he would be the filler. Todd Cox can go anywhere he wants, the Gators want him to head far south.

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