MSU DT Fletcher Cox Trying To Become A Leader

Junior defensive tackle Fletcher Cox has always been one of the most talented players on the Mississippi State football team but now he's trying to go beyond being one of the most talented to also being one of the leaders on the team, not just by example but vocally as well.

"I'm trying to become more of a vocal leader," said Cox. "I normally try to show it on the field, not just talk it, but put it on tape. But I've talked to (defensive line) Coach (Chris) Wilson and (head strength) Coach (Matt) Balis about being a vocal leader."

Considering he's quiet by nature, being more vocal has been a learning process for him.

"Being a vocal leader, I'm still trying to get there," said Cox. "I speak up at times but I still have to be more vocal than I am. I am more of a laid back guy who tries to do things right. If I'm doing it right, then that teaches the young guys to do it right."

As for what he is telling the young guys to do, he's letting his two years of experience playing college football be his guide.

"I try to talk to them and tell them how to handle certain situations, situations that I have been through," said Cox. "I also tell them to get a little swagger about themselves. And I also tell them to just relax when on the field because that will help them."

He's been impressed with what he has seen from several of the young guys, particularly true freshman John Harris and redshirt freshman Kaleb Eulls.

"I've seen a lot from Jonathan Harris that I like," said Cox. "He's not a big guy but he does what is asked of him. He also learns quick and plays hard. He just accelerates. I like that about him.

"Kaleb is going inside (to defensive tackle) for the first time. He's still learning because he's so used to playing outside. With him being inside everything is happening right now."

Overall, Cox has been impressed with the defense despite graduating the three linebacker starters from last season. He feels the defense will still be very good due to the talent on the defensive line.

"All defenses start upfront," said Cox. "If you don't have a good defensive line, then you really don't have a good defense. And the defensive line is going to be good. We still have to work the young guys but we have the summer to work them every day."

They also had the bowl practices to work and Cox felt those were very beneficial to both the young guys and the veterans alike.

"The (Gator) bowl practices helped a lot," said Cox. "I practiced during the bowl practices a lot. It helped us a lot going into the spring because we didn't have that much time off from football."

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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