2010 Countdown: #17 Michael Cox

2010 Countdown: #17 Michael Cox

August 17, 2010

Name: Michael Cox
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 211 lbs.
High school: Avon Old Farms High School in Dorchester, MA
Position: Running back
Class: Redshirt sophomore
Jersey number: #15
Last year: I ranked Cox #70 and said he’d get a couple mop-up carries. He carried the ball 13 times for 113 yards and 2 touchdowns, and caught 1 pass for 11 yards.

Headed into the 2009 season, it seemed that Cox was going to be an afterthought. Seniors Carlos Brown, Kevin Grady, and Brandon Minor were recruited by Lloyd Carr and would almost certainly get the majority of the carries. Junior Michael Shaw, freshman Vincent Smith, and freshman Fitzgerald Toussaint all signed with a Rodriguez-led Michigan. Cox was the only non-senior who had signed with Lloyd Carr, and many thought that he wouldn’t fit Rodriguez’s system. Cox wasn’t small and fast like Noel Devine, and he wasn’t a giant bruiser like Kay-Jay Harris. But practice reports said that he looked like a slightly smaller version of Brandon Minor, and that seemed to be the most accurate description once the 2009 season played out. Fans’ first sight of Cox saw him punishing Eastern Michigan tacklers for 24 yards on his first carry, and he added an impressive 57-yard touchdown run a few weeks later against Delaware State.

In the spring of 2010, the battle to replace Minor and Brown started to heat up. There can be a case made for several players. Shaw is extremely fast and shifty, but he can’t stay healthy or break tackles and has questionable vision (he also might be academically ineligible for the season). Smith is shifty and has good hands, but is small and coming off a torn ACL. Toussaint was a highly touted recruit and possesses the best all-around skills, but is coming off a season-ending injury and didn’t see any game action in 2009.

In my mind, though, there are very few questions about Cox. He has good size and speed. He runs hard. He hasn’t suffered any significant injuries. There is but one question, really . . . but it’s a huge one: Does Cox know what he’s doing? He suffers brain farts occasionally, and that may have been to been to blame for a fumbled exchange in the spring game, although it should not be overlooked that early enrollee Devin Gardner was on the other end of the handoff. He looks silly at times, but he also runs for a bunch of yards – the 24-yarder against EMU, the 57-yarder against DSU, and a 22-yard TD against Michigan in the spring game. It’s an extremely small sample size, but Cox looks better on paper than any other back on the roster. That’s good enough for me.

Prediction for 2010: Starting superback; 140 carries, 700 yards, 9 touchdowns

40% of voters picked Will Hagerup to be #17. Only 13% chose Cox.


  1. Comments: 21383
    Aug 17, 2010 at 2:25 PM

    I think you've made a good case for Cox. I am eager to see him get a chance to show himself in regular work. If memory serves, you stuck by Minor notwithstanding Minor's early episodes of dropping the ball. It seems like you're doing the same with Cox, who might also have some of the same issues. I hope you're right about Cox. I'm concerned that if Cox has any issues early that this might do him in.

    Although, from practice reports so far, I think the #46 that you gave to Toussaint will prove to be too high … please be too high.

    Argh! Best RB rating of #17 from this major skill posiition. Argh! Magnus: Can't you stuff the ballot to make us feel better?


  2. Comments: 21383
    Aug 17, 2010 at 3:07 PM

    Keep in mind though, I don't think the countdown is supposed to be a countdown of the best players, but rather the most important. If we're assuming that there's three or even four guys that could see a decent amount of carries this year, it seems like it would be hard to rank any of the running backs much higher than this.

    Correct me if I'm wrong on that Magnus.

  3. Comments: 21383
    Aug 17, 2010 at 5:23 PM

    The Countdown is my measurement of who the MOST IMPORTANT players are on the team, not necessarily the best. As Anonymous said above, Cox could get injured and the drop-off to Shaw, Smith, or Toussaint wouldn't necessarily be huge.

    As we start to move up the list, these players become more and more irreplaceable. For example, I'm not a huge fan of J.T. Floyd's abilities, but the depth at cornerback is practically non-existent; that means Floyd is ranked higher than Patrick Omameh (who has all-conference potential), a guard with solid backups like Elliott Mealer and Ricky Barnum.

  4. Comments: 21383
    Aug 17, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    Argh! Thanks for talking me down.


  5. Comments: 21383
    Aug 17, 2010 at 11:04 PM

    So where was Woolfolk gonna be on this list?

  6. Comments: 21383
    Aug 18, 2010 at 1:29 AM

    @ Anonymous 7:04 p.m.

    High. Very, very high. Dammit.

  7. Comments: 21383
    Aug 18, 2010 at 1:51 AM

    Honestly, I think you can win games with mediocre CB's as long as you have good safety play (teams like the Ravens and Steelers in the NFL have been doing it for years).

    Unfortunately, unless our safety play improves DRAMATICALLY, I'm not expecting anything better than say, average at best safety play. With Woolfolk out, I've just lowered my expectation for this team to 6-6.

  8. Comments: 21383
    Aug 18, 2010 at 2:21 AM

    @ Anonymous 9:51 p.m.

    I agree…with everything. Ugh.

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