What Steve said: Steve Bubalo 10/8
By Steve Bubalo PrepsKC Senior Writer
Jabril Cox caught my eye the first time I saw him step on the football field last Friday night against Belton. And this was before he even ran a play.
The Raytown South junior quarterback is a specimen at 6-foot-4, 205 pounds, so he stands out right away, but once he gets moving, he stands out even more.
Cox did damage with his arm against the Pirates, throwing for three touchdowns and showing off a strong arm at times, but when he can really amaze when he takes off running.
Having never seen Cox play, I wasn’t sure how well he would move, but it struck me how effortless it seemed.
While the talent comparison at this point doesn’t ring true – yet, at least – when Cox broke from the pocket and started to run it reminded me of former University of Missouri quarterback Brad Smith, the way he seemed so fast and he made it look so easy.
That was never more evident than during Cox’s first touchdown run of the game as he scrambled and started to run up the middle for first-down yardage, only to have Belton defenders close off the middle of the field. Cox looped around to the outside, avoiding defenders, and then curled around a block and tight-roped the sideline before running away from the defense for a 43-yard touchdown.
“He makes things happen,” Cox’s head coach Nick Adkins said. “There are times when he should be tackled and he’s not. I’m glad I don’t have to play against him.”
Belton head coach Todd Vaughn did have to play against him and summed Cox up pretty well: “He’s not just fast, he’s big and fast.”
Indeed, he is. Watching Cox run brought back memories of playing Tecmo Super Bowl and running with Christian Okoye. Sometimes Belton defenders just bounced off him or it took a handful of guys just to get him to the ground.
With Cox just being a junior, I can’t help but wonder what his future will be. As a converted outside linebacker, does he go to back to defense once he hits the college ranks? Does he stay at quarterback, continue to refine his throwing mechanics and become a dangerous dual threat?
While I’m not a talent evaluator, when I look at him I see the potential for a guy who could be a beast in the backfield, the kind of guy you can ride for 15 to 20 carries a game who also has that big-play potential.
The college football recruiting site Rivals currently has Cox listed as a dual-threat quarterback who is, not surprisingly, drawing plenty of interest from local schools Missouri, Kansas State and Kansas, as well as Iowa State, Nebraska, Arkansas and even Oregon.
And while I only talked with him briefly, Cox seems to carry himself well. He was complimentary of his teammates. During the game, he appeared very even-keeled, never showing any frustration as things were going wrong early in the game, but also not being demonstrative or over the top with his celebrations as the Cardinals offense started to hit on all cylinders. He was a man going about his business.
Watching super-talented players like Cox evolve during their high school career is a great part of this job. He should be wearing out the highlight tape over his final season-plus of games, and it’s going to be fun to watch.
As Adkins put it afterward, “The sky is the limit.”
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