There’s a chance Georgia transfer Brenton Cox Jr., a former consensus five-star recruit, could be playing for Florida as soon as this season instead of having to sit out a year.
Florida is going to be seeking a special waiver from the NCAA that would make the outside linebacker/defensive end eligible immediately, UF coach Dan Mullen said Monday.
“Oh, yeah, we’re definitely going to apply for a waiver for him and see,” Mullen said. “We feel good about it, of having him be able to play (this season). I think you look at all the previous scenarios that are out there around the country, we feel we have a good opportunity.”
UF will seek the same waiver from the SEC.
Mullen would not reveal the basis of the waiver for seeking immediate eligibility.
“We’re not going to get into that part of it,” he said. “We’re going to do it how we do it, through the NCAA. It’s not something we’re going to try to play out publicly to influence anything one way or the other. We’re going to just go through the channels and do it the right way.”
Cox, who is from Stockbridge, Ga., played in 13 games for the Bulldogs as a true freshman last season, recording 20 tackles, including a career-high six in UGA’s loss to Texas in the Sugar Bowl.
He was arrested in Athens in April on misdemeanor charges of marijuana possession. Under Georgia Athletic Association policy, he faced a one-game suspension for the Bulldogs’ opener against Vanderbilt.
He entered the NCAA transfer portal last week and quickly found a new school, which happens to be one of Georgia’s biggest rivals.
Mullen said the UF players played a role in the process that led Cox to Gainesville.
“As soon as he went in (the portal early last week), some of the players reached out and said he had called some of them to ask about us,” Mullen said. “I think he knew a lot of the guys on the team, understood defensively he was a great fit for the scheme we run on defense — the positional fit. That and the opportunity.
“He’s not going real far from home. His mom can come watch him play, still and be close to home. With what he knew of the guys on the team it was a good fit for him talking to guys on our team with how our program is run and what we do and how that would fit him.”
Mullen previously knew Cox, whom he had recruited when he was the head coach at Mississippi State. Once Mullen and his staff knew Cox was interested in transferring to UF, things happened quickly. He practiced with the Gators on Saturday and is listed on the roster.
“Dealing with his high school coaches, talking to him, talking to his mom. It’s a unique deal,” Mullen said. “Because of the timing, he’s not allowed to take an official visit. We asked.
“Part of the transfer portal, there’s a lot of different things that come up. This is the first time something like this has come up for us. They said no (to official visit). But going through everything, he wanted to move quickly on it to get to a school and get this waiver process going so he’s got the opportunity to play (this season).”