Tom Sorensen

Here’s a local running back who will find a place in the NFL, drafted or not

Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox (14) will find a way in the NFL, just as he has at every other level of football.
Appalachian State running back Marcus Cox (14) will find a way in the NFL, just as he has at every other level of football. AP

We’ve heard the names of some draft prospects so frequently that their names are embedded. Then there are the players whose names we never hear. One of them is Marcus Cox, the Appalachian State running back who over the past four seasons amassed 5,103 rushing yards.

Odds are that Cox won’t be drafted. True, he’ll then have the time to quickly scour rosters and the latitude to sign a free-agent contract with a team that perhaps can use him.

Maybe that’s best, because I swear the man is an NFL caliber running back who also will come flying down field on whichever special team he’s placed.

Do you remember Cox against Tennessee last season? He rushed for 115 yards. The Volunteers and their SEC defense knew Cox was going to get the ball. But once he did, they couldn’t do much to stop him.

Cox is 5-10 and 205 pounds and, by NFL running back standards, does not deal in speed. He runs about a 4.6 40. Also, he rarely puts down a move that will make fans jump and shout.

But he is not going down easily. He rushed for more than 1,000 yards each of the seasons he played. He’s patient and adept at finding room to run. When he does, he commits, and rarely does a single tackler bring him down.

Cox can run a nice pass route, and his hands are good. Also, he’s the cousin of former New England Patriots’ star Willie McGinest. That’s quality blood right there.

Just as there are very good high school players who can’t make it in college, there are very good college players who can’t make it in the pros.

Cox is not one of them. He always found room on the field. I suspect he’ll find room on a roster.

Tom Sorensen is a retired Charlotte Observer columnist. Sign up for his newsletter, and follow him on Twitter: @tomsorensen

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