Can Illini Interest Pennsylvania Safety?

Demetrious Cox (Scout)

Coaching changes are shaking up recruitments left and right, but Illinois coaches are hoping they can catch up with others in the case of a popular Pennsylvania defensive back. Illini Coach Mike Ward dropped in to see him Thursday.

Demetrious Cox, a safety out of Jeanette, Pennsylvania, has offers from some of the best programs across the country, but with so many schools making coaching changes, it opened the door for Illinois, who visited him Thursday.

"Coach Ward came by the school today. Obviously it'll be hard to get there with how late it is, but they said they want a big-time db to make an impact on their program, and that I'd have an opportunity there."

Ward has been busy on the road in the Northeast lately. Recruiting is in full swing, and Ward has caught the attention of recruits including Cox.

"He seemed like a good guy. He was honest with me and seemed like a good coach."

Cox has only taken one official visit, meaning he can take up to four more. One is already planned, but with such a short time left, it may be tough to fit in all five visits.

"Officially I've only been to Michigan State. I'm going to Notre Dame this weekend. I don't know after that."

Illinois jumped back into the picture late, but Cox isn't ruling out a visit to see the Illini.

"I'm not sure. Illinois might be one of my visits, but I still have to decide."

With a series of in-home and in-school visits as well as official visits, Cox will be evaluating all the schools pursuing him.

"I'd like to be with good people. I'd like a winning program and a good opportunity for me to play early."

Cox has been on a number of unofficial visits. Penn State was one of his most frequent stops, but with all of the turmoil surrounding both Penn State and Ohio State, it's made him take slower approach to recruiting.

"I've been to Ohio State, Penn State, Notre Dame, Pitt, Wisconsin, Michigan State. I really liked pretty much all of them. Michigan State was a good trip since I got to meet a lot of the players. The atmosphere at Wisconsin was crazy.

I went to Penn State about 4 or 5 times. I love it up there, and they have a great crowd. I went to a couple Ohio State things. I don't really have a favorite yet."

Other than visits, how has all the scandal and coaching chaos this year affected his recruiting?

"That's pushed it off a lot. Especially with Penn State and Ohio State before Urban (Meyer) got hired. That held off the process a lot. Really it's about who comes in to fill the position and who I like that comes in."

Cox is a highly pursued safety and tries to model his game after two of the premier defensive backs of the last 5 years.

"I watch a lot of Patrick Peterson and Tyrann Mathieu. When I watch those guys, they always are around the ball. Their effort is so great. The skillset goes along with it. Those guys are hungry and motivated. They'll go up and just take the ball away from you, and that's what I have to be focusing on more is going and getting the ball and being a ballhawk all the time."

As for a decision, Cox will likely stretch his remaining time as much as he can to make the best one possible.

"I'll probably make my decision sometime around signing day hopefully."

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