Ask any two fans who they believe to be the biggest recruiting bust in their school’s history and you might just get two different answers. Ask two Georgia Bulldogs fans for their answers and they’ll say one name: Brenton Cox Jr.
For the Georgia Bulldogs, the 2018 offseason was far from a quiet one. Bar fights. Arrests. Promotions. The months preceding the 2019 season filled the college football headlines for both good and bad reasons. But the cherry on top was Sophomore linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. getting dismissed by Georgia head coach Kirby Smart.
Brenton Cox Jr: Georgia’s Biggest Recruiting Bust
UGASports.com reporters Anthony Dasher and Radi Nabulsi reported that the dismissal took place after Cox, a former five-star recruit from Stockbridge, Georgia, was arrested in his dorm room by the University of Georgia Police Department alongside fellow linebacker Robert Beal. After being placed in cuffs, Cox and Beal were taken into custody by the Athens-Clarks County Police Department for possession of marijuana, a misdemeanor charge.
Was Cox going to be suspended? Did the arrest force the dismissal? Did something else happen? There are so many questions and not very many answers coming from the Bulldogs football program at the moment the news broke.
And yet, despite nothing being official, 247Sports reported that the sophomore outside linebacker had entered the NCAA Transfer Portal, before any decision was made by Georgia. That’s fishy.
Cox played in 13 of 14 games in the 2018 season for the Bulldogs, starting against the Texas Longhorns in the Allstate Sugar Bowl. He recorded 20 tackles, including two tackles for loss and one sack, as a true freshman. The five star recruit was ready to be a big piece of Georgia’s championship run, but he simply couldn’t stay out of trouble in Athens.
At the time losing a player as talented as outside linebacker Cox wasn’t fun for a team trying to compete with the Alabama Crimson Tide for an SEC title and possible College Football Playoff berth in 2019. However, as we now know, Georgia ended up just fine in that department.
Brenton Cox Jr Transfers to Florida, Brings Resentment
It didn’t take long for former Georgia Bulldogs linebacker to find a new home. Less than a week after entering the NCAA Transfer Portal, the 6-foot-4 outside linebacker is ready to get back to playing college football.
According to 247Sports, Cox decided to transfer to the Florida Gators and play for head coach Dan Mullen almost immediately after his dismissal. He was apparently already enrolled at the University of Florida and was expected at practice in Gainesville within two weeks of leaving the Bulldogs. That’s quite the quick turnaround. However, Cox sat out the entirety 2019, returning to the gridiron in 2020.
Cox has NFL potential. He showed flashes of that as a freshman at Georgia and had continued showing his promise at Florida. Georgia losing a talented player like this was obviously not fun, but for him to go to an SEC rival during the preseason is as cruel as it gets. But the Gators were sure happy to land a player that knows a thing or two about one of their toughest opponents on the schedule.
And there’s no love lost between the two even ahead of the 2022 season. When the matchup between Georgia and Florida was announced for October 29, 2022, Cox put out a message on his Instagram saying, “We go kill them dawgs. Animal cruelty.”
As a Gator, Cox set the school’s single-game record for sacks with 4 against Florida State during their meeting in November of 2021. The former-Georgia linebacker led the Gators in both sacks with 8.5, and tackles for a loss, totaling 14.5, as a redshirt junior in 2021. After the season was over, Cox announced his intention to stay at Florida and not enter the 2022 NFL Draft, choosing to return to Gainesville for his senior season.
What will Cox’s final meet-up with Georgia look like? It’s hard to tell, but we can probably expect some fireworks given the history between Cox and UGA.