Recruiting in the college football world doesn’t look the same in the midst of a dead period that will now extend through the end of May due to the coronavirus pandemic, but it continues nonetheless. On Thursday, that meant a commitment from former North Dakota State Bison linebacker Jabril Cox to the LSU Tigers.
The news comes one month after Cox immediately became one of the most coveted graduate transfers on the market after a standout career with the Bison that included FCS All-American honors and three national championships.
After entering the NCAA transfer portal, Cox was immediately followed by multiple members of the Longhorns staff and eventually followed offensive line coach Herb Hand — Texas has a need at the position as new defensive coordinator Chris Ash will move junior Joseph Ossai to a full-time role on the line of scrimmage and sophomore Ayodele Adeoye missed offseason conditioning after foot surgery. There was also some offseason drama at the position when junior Juwan Mitchell, a part-time starter in 2019, entered his name into the transfer portal and then subsequently removed it.
Unfortunately, the Texas interest wasn’t enough to overcome interest from the national champions. Like the Horns, the Tigers have a significant need at the position, too, after losing two middle linebackers to the NFL after the 2019 season. The familiarity of Cox with new defensive coordinator Bo Pelini probably helped, as Cox faced Pelini’s Youngstown State teams multiple times during his time at North Dakota State.
Unless another graduate transfer linebacker close to the quality of Cox lands in the transfer portal over the coming months, the Longhorns are likely to enter the 2020 season without an addition at the position beyond converted safety DeMarvion Overshown. After spinning down in recent weeks, Overshown quickly became the favorite to start at the weakside position this year — former defensive coordinator Todd Orlando’s Rover position.