Napier: Brenton Cox fired from squad

Napier: Brenton Cox fired from squad

In a surprise move, Florida fired fifth-year junior linebacker JACK Brenton Cox program, head coach Billy Napier announced at his weekly press conference on Monday, although the first-year head coach did not comment on the specifics of what led to the decision.

“Brenton, we kind of decided to move on here,” Napier said. “I think being a football player at the University of Florida is a privilege, there are certainly expectations that come with it. Obviously he’s done a lot of good things for the University of Florida and we don’t wish him only the best but sometimes you have to make decisions in the best interest of the team. With Brenton, we will certainly do everything in our power to help him.”

Cox was extremely effective against then-No. 7 Utah in the season-opening contest at Florida, recording 10 total tackles, including 0.5 tackles for loss, and one quarterback hit. As a result, he was named co-SEC Defensive Lineman of the Week.

Cox, who told media before the season that he was aiming to break Florida’s single-season sack record and record at least one sack per half, picked up just two sacks this season, although he leads the team with eight tackles for loss through as many plays.

Cox was seen throwing punches at the end of Florida’s 42-20 loss to No. 1 Georgia, although it’s unclear exactly what led to his dismissal from the crew.

A former second-team AP All-SEC for his play during the 2020 season, Cox returned to the program this offseason for his fourth season (third game) with the Gators after starting all 13 games in 2021 at linebacker BUCK in former defensive coordinator Todd The Grantham defence.

Cox was named to the mid-season Lombardi Award Watch List, which is awarded annually to the offensive or defensive lineman in college football who, in addition to outstanding performance and ability, best exemplifies the character and discipline of the NFL Hall of Fame head coach Vince Lombardi.

A former five-star prospect who started his career with Georgia, Cox transferred to Florida ahead of the 2019 season.

“It just didn’t work out,” Cox said of his departure from Georgia. “Me and Coach Smart, we agreed [on the] mutual decision for me to leave and I came here. It’s the best decision I’ve made so far.

In Florida’s final game of the 2021 season, Cox recorded a career-high program record and four sacks against Florida State. In the Florida bowl against UCF, Cox phad five solo tackles — four of which were tackles for loss — as well as a sack and a quarterback rush against the Knights. He debated entering the NFL Draft rather than undergoing another coaching change in Florida, but Cox opted to return under Napier, citing unfinished business in Florida.

“As I return for my senior season in redshirt, I promise I will continue to grow, improve and not give up,” Cox wrote in his Twitter announcement. “I look forward to my teammates and I accomplishing our goals on and off the field and making the Gator Nation proud.

“I’m ready to get back into the 2022 season and compete for a national championship title. I’m delighted that we’re continuing and giving it our all.”

Cox said in January that last year was “defined by resilience, commitment and growth.”

“I had surgery in early June to repair a Jones fracture,” he wrote. “Two months later, even though I was not completely healed, I insisted that I continue to represent the Gator standard demonstrating excellence, leadership and tenacity.”

Antwaun Powell-Ryland and Lloyd Summerall are considered possible replacements for Cox as JACK.

“We’ve played a handful of players in this position all year,” Napier said. “AP and Lloyd have done a great job all year.”

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