The only previous experience Adrian Coxson had with a Football Championship Subdivision team was when Maryland came away with a 28-3 win over Towson last fall. Before that, the Terps wide receiver had never given any FCS school much thought, and he certainly never expected to play at that level.
But after a redshirt freshman season in which he appeared in just nine games, Coxson decided to transfer from College Park. The former four-star wide-out, who started his college career at Florida, was pursued by FBS schools Utah and Toledo, which offered him a scholarship. In the end, though, Coxson decided on Stony Brook, an FCS program that plays in the Big South Conference.
"I like the coaches there," said Coxson, who moved to the Long Island school one week ago. "I'm building relationships with them all the time. Most importantly, my mom liked it there. They have a good football team, and I felt like I could still show my talents here at this school."
Coxson said someone from the Seawolves' coaching staff visited City earlier this year, and Knights coach George Petrides connected player with coach. Coxson liked the coaching staff's vision for him.
"[They said they plan on me] just getting the ball as many ways as they can," Coxson said. "I've been in two bad situations coming out of high school that unfortunately didn't work out. So it's time to play some football now."
Coxson, who was ranked among the Top 250 players in the country by Rivals.com coming out of City, was seen as a major pickup for the Terps after he left Florida. Maryland lost wide receivers Torrey Smith, LaQuan Williams, Adrian Cannon and Emani Lee-Odai to graduation in 2010, and many Terps football observers expected Coxson to make up for some of that lost production in 2011.
But playing time was scarce for Coxson last fall. His big break for the Terps came against Boston College, when injuries to other wide receivers forced him into the lineup. The former City star made the most of his opportunity, catching three passes for 78 yards and a touchdown. But in the Terps' final five games, Coxson caught just one more pass for 12 yards.
Maryland's 28-17 loss to the Eagles was the "first and last game I [saw extended action playing] receiver," Coxson said. "I don't know why. I still haven't gotten an explanation to this day. I felt as though I had a pretty good game."
Coxson said Florida didn't grant him an unconditional release when he transferred, but he had a "good relationship" with Terps coach Ralph Friedgen and offensive coordinator James Franklin, so transferring to Maryland made sense.
"If they were still there, I would have played way more than I did, obviously," Coxson said. "I still talk to Coach Friedgen to this day. I talked to him about my decision. He gave me his opinion. … [The new Maryland staff] liked who they liked. That's just a point-blank feeling. That's an easy way to put it. They like who they like and they play who they want to play."
Coxson still maintains relationships with several current and former Terps, including running back D.J. Adams, who transferred to Portland State, and defensive lineman Cody Blue, who's still looking for a new home.
At Stony Brook, Coxson's roommate is former Iowa running back Marcus Coker, a DeMatha grad who was the Hawkeyes' leading rusher last season with 1,384 yards and 15 touchdowns. Coxson has to sit out the 2012 season and lose a year of eligibility because this is his second transfer, but he hopes to appeal the NCAA's decision and suit up this fall. Whenever he does get on the football field again, his ultimate goal will remain the same.
"My dream of playing pro football is never going away," Coxson said. "Nobody can break me. Trust me, that's one thing that nobody can do. Everything is a clean slate in my life. I know how it feels to struggle. It's just one more hurdle to jump over."