"That's always been something I've had to pride myself on because I don't have the best arm and I'm not a scrambler," Cox said. "That's how I get by."
The deadly precision helped Cox make a name for himself amid a crowd of stronger throwers, and not much changed once he arrived at Georgia.
As a backup to Matthew Stafford for most of the past three years, Cox spent his days tossing sharp passes between the jersey numbers of downfield receivers running with the second-team offense, while the cannon-armed Stafford wowed onlookers with 70-yard bombs.
That big arm now has Stafford poised to be the first player selected in April's NFL draft, however, and Cox is ready to step into the lead role in his fifth season at Georgia, bringing a clearly different style to the position. But while Cox admits he probably won't have jaws dropping on the practice field, he doesn't expect much to change on game day.
"Matthew has an incredible arm, but it wasn't like we were running plays that only he could make that throw," Cox said. "All the plays that we run, all the guys here can make those throws."
While his arm never matched Stafford's, Cox hasn't had much trouble earning the respect of the players around him during his first four seasons at Georgia. Like he did at the Elite 11 camp, his precision, his attention to detail and his energy helped him stand out in the crowd.
"Joe has fun when he's out there," wide receiver Tavarres King said. "He just lifts everybody up in the huddle, and that does a lot for you when you're fatigued, and you're tired. Joe just has that ‘it' factor."
Under Stafford, Georgia's passing game was among the most dynamic in the SEC. Cox probably won't engender the same amount of oohs and aahs when he steps on the field this year, but he's not concerned. The style of play won't change, he said, and the Bulldogs' productivity has a chance to be even better.
"I definitely think we can do a lot of things this year because of the talent that we have," Cox said. "If everybody keeps working like they have been working and we have certain guys step up, including me, I think we can do great things this year."