Marques Cox envisioned this spring as a time to focus on his recruitment. But due to knee surgery, the class of 2018 Peoria offensive lineman instead is focused on recovery.
"I've been doing a lot of rehab lately because during the Morris game (Class 5A state semifinal) I got hit in the back of the leg, and I thought was knee was just hurting," Cox said. "I played the state championship game (a 62-48 Peoria win over Vernon Hills) and then I found out I played on a torn ACL. I had surgery. I'm in the rehab process, I'm walking around, moving around and getting better for next year."
Cox, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound offensive lineman, had surgery to repair the torn ACL on Dec. 28, his birthday.
"So that was a good birthday experience," Cox joked. "I don't want to do that again."
Cox said he is now walking around without crutches and has been cleared to do upper-body lifts in the weight room.
"I'm just moving around, trying to get into things -- but not too fast," Cox said.
Despite the injury, Cox continues to receive more recruiting interest. Last June, Iowa State was the first to offer. During the last few weeks, Illinois State, Ball State, Buffalo and Miami (Ohio) also have extended scholarship offers.
"It's been good, actually," Cox said. "It's just a blessing to even get offers and be able to play football at the next level."
Cox said he may visit Indiana on Sunday for a junior and that he has "been talking to Illinois a little bit."
"Illinois just says that I'm on their radar and to keep working and that I'll be all right," Cox said.
Cox received invitations to some of the top showcase camps in the Midwest but will be unable to participate due to the injury.
"It's so frustrating," Cox said. "I got like three camp invites, and I can't go to none of them. The focus is on what's important now, and what's important now is to do well in school and get my knee better so I can play and be with a team for the rest of the summer. Just being around the team, I'm trying to be a leader right now in the offseason and just keep my team up high."
That's where he learned from former Peoria teammate Kendrick Green, who signed with the Illini earlier this month. Green was aching for power-five offers last summer, but his recruitment dragged. Yet, after a strong senior season, Green held scholarship offers from Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Notre Dame, Missouri, Arkansas,and Ole Miss.
"I learned to trust the process from Kendrick," Green said. "Don't rush nothing. Everything will come. Just trust the process."