Photo: Brenton Cox Jr.; Credit: University of Florida athletic association
Gators BUCK edge rusher Brenton Cox Jr. likely won't be a full participant at the beginning of Florida's fall training camp, but all signs point to Cox quickly strapping up the pads and practicing at 100 percent sooner rather than later.
Cox, a rising redshirt junior, underwent surgery on a Jones fracture in his left foot at the beginning of June, a team source told AllGators. UF head coach Dan Mullen confirmed Cox's return timeline falling within fall camp during pre-camp media availabilities on Thursday, which AllGators previously reported.
“Yeah we expect him to be back. I don’t know if we’re going to let him go 100% right on day one, but he’s going to be out there practicing right away and building him up," Mullen said. "Right now with the time he’s missed, [we're] building him up, getting him back ready to being 100%, in not just the foot injury but his training and conditioning and all that stuff."
Another outlet wrote that Cox suffered a foot injury in a scooter accident and could miss a "significant portion" of Florida's season. In addition to AllGators' clarification of the injury, Mullen's explanation should solidify the sentiment that Cox will be in the Gators' lineup come week one against Florida Atlantic.
Mullen expressed confidence in Cox's ability to quickly bounce back from this setback as he enters his second season as a starter in UF's defense, and third with the program after transferring from Georgia at the beginning of the 2019 season.
"I expect big things out of him, because I thought he had a really solid year last year," Mullen proclaimed. "Now a second year in the system, more experience, more a veteran guy, an older guy, having to learn, look at what he did well importantly last year and how to build off that."
Appearing in and starting all 12 games last season as Florida's primary pass rusher, Cox recorded 42 tackles, 3.5 sacks, 10 tackles for loss, and two pass breakups. AllGators learned that he played through the Jones fracture in 2020 and it was recognized throughout the offseason.
On top of the idea that he could perform even better on a fully healthy foot, Mullen is optimistic about Cox's upcoming campaign from the work he's seen Cox put in behind the scenes.
"I have tremendous respect for Brenton, because you look at a guy, highly profiled recruiting guy, people had all kinds of questions about him," Mullen suggested. "He’s come in here and I think been SEC Academic Honor Roll since the day he stepped on campus. Handles his business at an extremely high level in the locker room, in the classroom, and on the practice field.
"I mean, the effort and what he was able to do the year he knew he couldn’t play, to come out everyday, work, get better, be a team guy, give the team a good look and excel in the classroom, I think shows a lot of the character and the type of person that he is and really why he fits being a Florida Gator.”
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