The New York Football Giants will potentially have three former Michigan Wolverines on their 53-man roster this September: center David Baas, safety Stevie Brown and 2013 7th-round draft pick, running back, Michael Cox. Sure, technically, Cox is UMass alum too.
Cox spent the bulk of his college career in maize and blue, then transferred to UMass for graduate school (to have something besides football to possibly fall back on) instead of coming out for the NFL Draft in 2012. Think of him a bit like a Brandon Jacobs-type that transferred to “show off” what skills he had — after all, he played in an offensive system that was pretty much quarterback Denard Robinson with a few running backs (Fitzgerald Toussaint, Vincent Smith & Michael Shaw, for starters) sprinkled in.
In 2011, he performed in the last six games of the Wolverines’ schedule, but only as a kickoff returner (only stats were two yards on a pair returns). In 2010, he only appeared in two games: gaining 56 yards on six carries — in one of those games. He got no touches in the second game. In 2009, he was a red-shirt freshman and appeared in four games, amassing 113 yards on 13 carries and 2 touchdowns. However, while rushing for the University of Massachusetts Minutemen (as a senior), he started all 12 games, carried the ball 198 times for 715 yards and five touchdowns. Welcome to the first string.
At 6’, 220 pounds, he isn’t a small back, but, at times, plays like one. He’s tough but can be shifty and elusive. General Manager, Jerry Reese trusts his scouts that have been watching him too.
"You don't see a lot of production, but if you look closely at this guy, we are excited about him," said Reese. "He is big, powerful, elusive guy with speed. He has got a lot of things that we like about him."
Running back coach Jerald Ingram sees potential as well, but realizes #29 (for now) still has a rookie learning curve.
"He's a very talented young man," Ingram said earlier this week. "He has the ability to do certain things, but he has to, like all young running backs, they have to learn the system. You just can't toss them the ball and say, 'Go do this.' [It's] just like we went through a year ago with David in situations. "He has to feel comfortable about learning our offense, and we're comfortable with him that we can trust him in most situations. But he does show us a lot of good talent out there right now."
Perhaps the most Giants-like tendencies that Cox owns are the chip on his shoulder, his quiet, determined demeanor and the fact that he uses this to focus on the field. He ran for 33 yards on his nine carries versus the Pittsburgh Steelers last Saturday, giving him something to build upon. He could get even more of an opportunity against the Indianapolis Colts Sunday evening. Chances are he continues to impress while earning a spot on the final roster. Head coach, Tom Coughlin sees that something in the 24 year-old too.
“Cox ran the ball hard when he had his opportunity,” said Coughlin. “He has continued to impress us with his contributions.”
The New York Football Giants and their scouting team have a tendency to find tailbacks that are considered “sleepers” — especially after the departure of a feature back (this offseason, big-hearted Ahmad Bradshaw). Mark it down: running back Michael Cox will be a New York Giant this season.
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