BUFORD, Ga. — The ebbs and flows of the recruiting cycle are never-ending until ink meets paper on National Signing Day.
Brenton Cox went from being a heavy Tennessee lean last fall to answering questions about whether or not the Volunteers are still in the hunt.
“I’m still considering them,” Cox told InsideTennessee. “They didn’t stop recruiting me, just fell off a little bit. They were one of my top schools at one point in time, but I’m still considering them.
The Scout four-star defensive end prospect had been learning about Big Orange Country from graduate assistant Nick Sheridan, who has since left for an assistant coaching job at Indiana. New Tennessee defensive line coach Brady Hoke has exchanged text messages with Cox, but it will take more than that to overcome some stout competition.
“I went up there (to Tennessee) a lot from eighth-grade year,” Cox said. “I used to go to the camps, even when I didn’t have the offer, I still went to the camps just to get the coaching from (former Tennessee defensive line) coach (Steve) Stripling. It was a good thing to do.”
Conversations with Butch Jones haven’t exactly piled up of late, but the edge rusher does communicate with the fifth-year Tennessee coach.
“(Jones) sends graphics and stuff like that, but I haven’t really talked to him,” Cox said.
The Stockbridge (Ga.) High School junior listed Georgia and Ohio State as the programs recruiting him the hardest with Alabama, Auburn and South Carolina in the hunt. He hasn’t placed potentially playing for the Volunteers in the closet.
“Nobody fell off that far,” Cox said. “Anybody can still come back. Really I’m just trying to play early and get a number I want.”
Cox said he plans to check out spring games at Georgia (April 22), Ohio State (April 15) and South Carolina (April 1).
The Scout No. 53 prospect in the 2018 class listed why programs seek his signature.
“I’m definitely fast. I’m faster than most every O-tackle there is — kind of finesse and power,” said Cox, who said he looks up to Myles Garrett.
The 6-foot-4, 247-pounder with 4.95 speed took part in The Opening Atlanta at Buford High School on Sunday.
“Hopefully I go to Oregon and compete with everybody around the country,” said Cox, who reported 78 tackles, 30 sacks and two touchdowns from his junior season.