Cox talented and yet humble

Taylor Cox arrived at KU this season after a heralded juco career at the College of the Siskiyous in Weed, Calif

.Cox, who was an All-American last season after rushing for 1,507 yards and 14 touchdowns, set school records for rushing yards in a game (326), career (2,744) and touchdowns in a career (31).

The Mill Creek, Wash., native picked up right were he left off in his KU debut last Saturday against South Dakota State at Memorial Stadium, rushing for 121 yards and one touchdown on 16 carries in KU's 31-17 victory.

It was a performance which had Jayhawk fans buzzing and head coach Charlie Weis and his teammates raving about his accomplishments.

But the team-first player remained grounded and humbled in the days following the win.

"I'm not sure where it ranks (among his career accomplishments), but it was definitely a fun experience," Cox said. "I'm just glad we got the win at the end of the day. I'm not really looking at stats and all that kind of stuff. I'm just glad we (won) and headed toward the right direction. We definitely had mistakes we made during the game and felt we could have played better, so we just have to clean those up and look at Week 2 against Rice."

While he gained over 100 yards, Cox wasn't quite satisfied with how he played.

"I think there's definitely some things I need to work on," he said. "Coming off a win there's obviously good things you do but you can't pride yourself on only the good things. You have to humble yourself by looking at the things you need to improve on also. I just look forward to practice and working out the kinks with coach Mitchell (Reggie, running backs coach) during the week and hopefully I can have a better performance (against Rice)."

He talked about the specific areas he could improve.

"I just feel I need to pay more attention to detail, my alignment, my endpoints on my runs sometimes, just little things here and there just to make myself a more complete player and help the team."

While Weis knows Cox can improve, he was quite pleased with his play last Saturday.

"I knew Taylor had a little shiftiness and had some shake and bake," Weis said. "I also knew he could run with power but seeing him do those both in the same game was really encouraging. Probably the best thing for Taylor was after he fumbled (in the second quarter) you look at somebody's face, look into their eyes, he couldn't get out there (on the field) fast enough. He was one of those guys that wasn't in the tank, he just wanted to get out there and make up for that. I'll never say a fumble is a good thing, but as a teaching moment, it was actually a good thing for him."

Weis said he recruited Cox to make an immediate impact.

"(Junior college players) are not coming to sit on the bench," Weis aid. "The reason why they're picking Kansas and your program is because they have a good feel they'll utilize what they do, what they've showed the last couple of years. (Cox) wasn't picked All-American juco for no reason. He was good, just not many people saw him. I said it in jest last week, but I didn't even know we could find him (at Weed, population 2,967). It's a tough place to find, but he was a really good player in junior college and we thought he could definitely help us. 

"We're really happy he's with us."

Weis said he could evaluate Cox's game just fine on tape during the recruiting process despite him competing against subpar players in junior college.

"The tape doesn't lie," Weis said. "What a good player is supposed to do against players that aren't as good is they're supposed to dominate ... and that's what he did."

Cox, who originally committed to Eastern Washington in high school before going the juco route, is just thrilled to be at Kansas and playing with such genuine teammates who accept who he is — a laid-back student-athlete with dreadlocks and all.

"We all come from different backgrounds and everything, but I think we get along pretty good," Cox said. "We might poke fun at differences here and there, but we're all friends in the end. We love each other as teammates so it's definitely a good deal."


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