Welcome to the 2019 FCS Kickoff Jersey Countdown.
The regular season begins Saturday, Aug. 24 with Samford vs. Youngstown State in the Guardian Credit Union FCS Kickoff along with Villanova playing at Colgate.
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HERO Sports is going to count down each day by highlighting the best player in the FCS who wears the jersey number equal to the number of days until kickoff. You can find the running list of top players here.
*Note: Jersey numbers are from the 2018 season.
42: Jabril Cox, LB (Jr.) — North Dakota State
Cox is arguably the best all-around defensive player in the FCS. He's a 6-foot-3, 233-pound linebacker that can play inside or detach from the box and cover receivers in passing situations. Cox is just a junior, but no one would be shocked or blame him if he declares for the NFL Draft after this season.
It probably took every ounce of self-control for NDSU coaches not to pull Cox's redshirt in 2016. Especially when fans saw him hit the field for the first time in 2017. Cox was named the Missouri Valley Football Conference Freshman of the Year and Newcomer of the Year and finished sixth in the Jerry Rice Award voting for top freshman in the FCS. HERO Sports named him a Freshman All-American. Cox had a team-high 75 tackles, 13 tackles for loss, 4.5 sacks and one interception.
RELATED: 2019 NDSU Season Preview
Cox racked up even more awards last year, being named to several All-American teams, the MVFC First Team and was the MVFC Defensive Player of the Year. He was all over the field once again with a team-high 91 tackles, 9.5 TFLs, four sacks, seven quarterback hurries and four interceptions, two of which he returned for touchdowns.
Just read this quote from former defensive coordinator and now head coach Matt Entz:
"It got too simple for him a year ago."
The plan is to move Cox from Sam to Will linebacker, which will give him more responsibilities and get him closer to the ball against spread offenses, which sometimes would avoid him by running plays to the opposite side. Expect Cox's "numbers" to go up even more now as he pursues the Buck Buchanan Award for best defensive player in the FCS.
Jabril Cox takes it 43 yards to the house! pic.twitter.com/LQVkA0G1kC
— NDSU Football (@NDSUfootball) September 15, 2018
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