"I got into boxing because that was nice and physical," Cox said in a telephone interview last week. "I boxed from about age 10 to about 15. I got out of that because (in) my weight class I ended up boxing guys that were like 18, 19 years old while I was about 12."
Cox, who was a starting offensive tackle all of last season and a starting defensive tackle late in his junior campaign, still finds that he is reaping the benefits of boxing in his youth.
"It got you tough," he said. "And even better, you got to use your hands… I'm so clean with my rip and my swim because I've thrown upper cuts… I've thrown hooks, I've thrown jabs, I've thrown crosses.
"I'm pretty good with my hands [on] defense or offense, getting your hands inside, pass punching… My junior year I had no sacks on the offensive line, I never gave up one. I pride myself on that."
Cox also takes pride in earning the right to play defense for the Dynamos. He was slated to focus on offensive line and played only on that side of the ball for the first six games of the 2004 season, his first as a varsity starter.
But in Springdale's seventh game of the year, against Duquesne, Cox received the opportunity to play defensive tackle.
"I think we were losing to them," Cox said. "And our D-line, they were getting pretty beat up. So [my coach] threw me in there for like four plays. I think I got like a sack and a couple tackles."
He ended up working in on the defensive line for the remaining five games of the season and ended up with about 30 tackles, two sacks and three fumble recoveries, he said.
However, after a full season at offensive tackle, Cox earned post-season acclaim on the offensive side of the ball, including first-team All-Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League and first-team all conference.
Cox expects to play either center or defensive tackle in college. But what position does he prefer?
"Obviously I'm always going to say it doesn't matter as long as I got on the field," Cox said, before adding. ""I know I could play on offense. I know I could do well and dominate at a center position. But… I would love to play defensive line…
"I love defense and I love going both ways, so it's a really tough decision. But overall I'd say defense is my cup of tea."
Cox does not have any scholarship offers yet, but he is receiving interest from Akron, Wisconsin, Indiana, Miami (Fla.), Kent State, Eastern Michigan, West Virginia, Georgetown, Hofstra, Rhode Island, Richmond, Bowling Green, Cincinnati, North Carolina State and Toledo.
The schools showing him the most interest, Cox said, are Akron, West Virginia, Eastern Michigan, Cincinnati and Kent State.
How much interest is Wisconsin showing?
"I have received a couple letters from them," he said. "A camp invite, stuff like that. A couple letters but not that much."
Cox said he was not comfortable stating what his favorite schools were at this point. He has witnessed the recruiting process first-hand, having watched his brother, Lucas Cox, now a second-year defensive end at Iowa, receive letter after letter.
"You know what I really want to say?" he asked. "The school that's most interested in me…
"You know I can't say it [a list of favorites] because I don't want to self incriminate myself."
Cox has been to a few combines this spring, including a Metro Index Camp in Pittsburgh. He weighed 240 pounds last spring and after adding about 30 pounds in the past year he posted a 5.3 40-yard dash.
"Once I get more used to that weight I'll be alright," he said. "But my [20-yard] shuttle is really good. I ran a 4.6 at Metro in my shuttle."
In June Cox plans to attend camps at Akron, Eastern Michigan, Kent State and West Virginia. "I'm thinking about attending the Pitt camp," he said. "I think I will… even though Pitt hasn't showed that much interest in me I still feel it's necessary just to show them my stuff."