Getting to know ASU linebacker Chans Cox
JUL 19, 2013 12:42p ET
Cox didn't have a press conference or pare his choices to a top few on Twitter. He simply stopped by Arizona State's campus one day for an unofficial visit and told Todd Graham and Co. he wanted to be a Sun Devil.
Though Cox's commitment was subtle, his impact could be great, as he comes to ASU as the highest-rated player in Graham's second recruiting class and the most recent big in-state get.
Cox, who's expected to play the hybrid "Devil" backer position, enrolled at ASU early to get a head start on his college football career. He joined the Sun Devils for spring practice but suffered an ankle injury after just one practice and spent most of the spring doing conditioning work on the sidelines.
Still, Cox's time around the team and coaches should give him a leg up as he enters his first fall camp next month. As he prepares for the start of his first season, FOXSportsArizona.com caught up with Cox to discuss a number of on- and off-field topics.
FSAZ: You committed to ASU in June last year -- somewhat early by recruiting standards -- and stuck with it. What made you so sure of the decision that early on?
Cox: It had come down to ASU and Notre Dame for me. It was a really big and tough decision. With Coach Graham getting here, he had everything that I was looking for in a college and a coach. That's something that meant a whole lot to me. When I felt comfortable with that, I just wanted to make my decision. At that point I kind of had the idea of graduating early as well, so I get my commitment out of the way.
FSAZ: You kept the commitment pretty simple, just telling coaches on a visit. What made you do it that way?
Cox: I've never really gotten caught up in all the hype. I didn't go to many camps or anything, just went to a few combines. When I was comfortable, I didn't really care about anything else. I was happy with my decision, and I just wanted to get it done.
FSAZ: How much did staying in the state play into your decision to come to ASU?
Cox: When I got more into the recruiting process, I wanted to stay home close to my family so they'd be able to come watch and past coaches would be able to come watch me play. That played a big role, and being an in-state guy played a huge role for me too. Coming out of the Tillman Tunnel as an Arizona-born-and-bred athlete is something that means more than someone from California doing that.
FSAZ: After graduating high school early to enroll early at ASU and participate in spring practice, how frustrating was it to get injured after one practice?
Cox: It was really frustrating. That was the main reason I graduated early -- to get out to ASU and really start to understand everything on the defensive side of the ball. But I was still able to learn a lot. I was able to take a lot of mental reps and build a lot of bonds with teammates. So I'm still very fortunate and happy I got out there early.
FSAZ: What's the status of your ankle now? Good to go for fall camp?
Cox: Yeah. It was only about a five-week recovery process. Now I'm 100 percent. I've been working out, and it's feeling great.
FSAZ: What appealed to you about Todd Graham's defensive scheme and style of play?
Cox: Well, especially at the "Devil" position I'm at, there's a lot of opportunity for big plays. And just like the offense, Coach Graham has our defense at a fast pace, getting all of our calls from the sidelines and just keeping up with the offense. To be out there before the offense is, you've already got them beat before the play even starts.
FSAZ: Granted you're still pretty close to home, what has it been like for you transitioning to living on your own at ASU?
Cox: The first few weeks I dealt with the homesickness and missing my family, but it's really gotten better. One of the big things Coach Graham tries to put into this program is the relationships with the players and us with the coaches. That's helped so much. Every day our position coach meets with us and talks with us or calls us or sends a text. That's how we are as players too. We have great bonds. That really helped to ease the homesickness when I came in here early.
FSAZ: What's your favorite non-football activity?
Cox: I love to go camping. I love the outdoors. I love hunting and fishing. That's something I've grown up with, especially coming from the mountains. My dad and I have always been into the outdoors. That's something I love to do when we have a break -- go home and camp.
FSAZ: As a local guy, you're already known somewhat, but what's something ASU fans who aren't as familiar with you should know about you?
Cox: I would just say that I'm a humble guy. I've always gone by the rule of playing for the name on the front of the jersey, not for the one on the back. That's something that's always meant a whole lot to me. Another thing is that faith plays a big role in my life. I wanted to stay home close to my family for that, and Coach Graham played a role in that as well, because faith is a big part of our program.
FSAZ: Growing up, what professional or college football players did you look up to or like watching?
Cox: That's a tough one. I grew up watching college football but never had a particular player. One guy, especially when I was being recruited by Notre Dame, would be Manti Te'o. Especially because he was at the linebacker position, I loved the way he played football. And he shared some of the morals I grew up living by as well.
FSAZ: How about a favorite former Sun Devil?
Cox: Terrell Suggs. He's one of the biggest names to come out of Arizona State. A lot of fans have said I could be the next Terrell Suggs, which is a very high goal for me. The way he plays football -- hard, fast and continuously -- is the way I would like to play as well.
FSAZ: Lastly, what are you most looking forward to about this season?
Cox: Camp T. is something I'm really looking forward to. It's kind of like back home, out in the woods, just roughing it. And then just being a part of this ASU team this season. I'm really looking forward to going to a Rose Bowl and winning a national championship.