Apopka’s jack-of-all-trades Chandler Cox got a taste of the UCF atmosphere Saturday night during the No. 15 Knights’ victory over Houston and he liked it ... a lot.
“It was a lot of fun. That was my first UCF game and it was pretty cool,” Cox said. “I didn’t expect that many people I guess, since I had never been to a UCF game … so when I got there, I started taking pictures of the crowd and everything because there were so many people.
“I really liked it … I liked it a lot.”
UCF has yet to offer a scholarship to the junior fullback/tight end/H-back prospect, who has filled in nicely this season as a fullback in Apopka’s single-wing offense, which, technically, does not use a quarterback . The Darters have gone back to a straight single-wing attack after senior quarterback Zack Darlington was sidelined due to concussion concerns after the first game.
The 6-foot-2, 2012-pound Cox will play a variety of roles wherever he decides to attend college. So far, the No. 3-ranked prospect in the Sentinel’s 2015 Central Florida Super60, has offers from Kentucky, Boston College and New Mexico.
A UCF offer seems likely for Cox considering UCF’s desire to re-establish its fullback presence, which the Knights haven’t really had this season after graduating former Bishop Moore walk-on Billy Giovanetti.
What might even add more to UCF’s ability to recruit Cox is that his mother would love to see her son stay home for college, although that is not likely to be a large factor in his decision-making process.
“She would like me to stay close, sure, but she wants me to choose the place where I want to go,” Cox said, “but yes, she would like me to stay close to her.
“I like the atmosphere at UCF, the coaches are great and the campus is nice. … so yeah, I could see myself playing for UCF.”
His recruiting process has just begun, so it’s hard to say what other offers he’ll be looking at in the future. Cox’s versatility should provide plenty of options. He’s Apopka’s third leading rusher in a running attack that no team has been able to stop this season.
The Apopka single-wing has baffled every defense, racking up 4,291 rushing yards and 54 rushing touchdowns. Cox has accounted for 696 yards and 10 touchdowns behind senior tailback Robert Thomas (1,605 and 16) and junior wingback J.J. Simmons (824 and 13).
“I haven’t gotten a lot of mail from UCF. The’ve just talked to me on Facebook a lot and said they’d like to get me down for the game and see how I liked it,” Cox said. “So I’m not really sure how close they are to offering, but I hope they do. It would be pretty cool if they did.”
After rolling through the regular season, Apopka (9-1, losing its first game at Duncam, S.C., Byrnes) finally gets to open postseason play Friday night, as the defending Class 8A state champ host Orlando University.
“Yeah, it feels like it’s taken forever. It’s been a long season, but we’re excited to finally start playoffs and we’re just hoping to get back to state and win another state championship,” Cox said.
This year teams will be a little more aware of Apopka, whereas the Darters probably surprised a few teams a year ago en route to the crown. The target is on their backs, but they wouldn’t want it any other way.
“I feel like everybody we play is always talking and teams are always trying to beat Apopka, but that’s normal and we know teams are aiming to beat us because we won last year,” Cox said. “We just have to continue to work as a team and do what we do to win games.”
Chris Hays is the Sentinel's recruiting coverage coordinator and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow us on Twitter at @Os_Recruiting and Facebook at Orlando Sentinel Recruiting, Instagram at os_recruiting and on Pinterest at Orlando Recruiting.Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun