Special UF bond for Cox Jr.

Published: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 12:19 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 8, 2012 at 12:19 p.m.

Bryan Cox Jr. has bounced from city to city since he was born. His father, former NFL linebacker Bryan Cox Sr., has made stops all across the country as a player and coach.

So when the younger Cox arrives at Florida this summer, it will be the first time he will know he gets to spend more than three years in the same city.

And fortunately for him, he has someone in Gainesville who will make him feel at home — UF defensive coordinator Dan Quinn.

At this stage, he's more of an uncle to Cox than a coach. Quinn and his father worked together with the New York Jets in 2007 and 2008. They've been like brothers ever since.

“He was the defensive line coach on Eric Mangini's staff and I was his assistant,” Cox Sr. said. “We worked side-by-side for two years and he taught me a lot about the front. When he left to go out to Seattle, I left to go to Cleveland with Mangini.

“But we're like-minded people and we just always kept in contact. Anytime we get a chance to talk or hang out, we've always done that. It's just one of those deals where he and I became really close and he's like family now.”

After spending two years in separate states, they reunited in 2011 when Cox was hired by the Miami Dolphins as their pass rush coach and Quinn took the defensive coordinator position at Florida. With his son entering his senior year of high school at St. Thomas Aquinas, it was perfect timing for both parties.

“It's crazy how that happened,” Cox Sr. said. “The thing about it is, I have five children and Bryan is my only son. And so I'm happy he has an opportunity for a great education and an opportunity to be a member of the Gator football team.

“And with Dan being there overseeing that, I know I have a personal relationship with a guy that will pick up the phone and say what's happening with my son. That was important to me because he's the only son that I have. It's just a wonderful feeling that everything worked out and my son will be attending the University of Florida.”

Cox Jr. was offered by Quinn during his Jan.19 in-home visit and committed on the spot. The three-star defensive end will have Quinn as his positional coach.

“I'm happy to be a part of Gator Nation and I can't wait to learn from coach Quinn,” the younger Cox said. “I've known him for a while and my dad wouldn't want anybody coaching me more than him. They're real close and they have a brotherly bond.”

But the elder Cox made it clear his bond with Quinn isn't the reason his son joined Florida's 2012 class.

“The thing that I want to be known is that Dan didn't offer him because of the relationship that we have,” Cox Sr. said. “He was offered because he's a good football player. The second part of that equation is me and my wife didn't send our son to Florida because Dan is there.

“It's important that he is and I trust him, but there were opportunities for my son to go to other universities. He chose Florida and earned it. I don't want anybody to feel that he's there because of me. The relationship that I have with Dan just makes it all the more special.”

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