- Jared Shanker, ESPN Staff Writer
Four-star Jeannette (Pa.) safety Demetrious Cox took his first official visit last weekend, and five more teams are fighting to earn on his final four visits.
Michigan State was the first program Cox officially visited, though it was the fourth time he has been to East Lansing. He said Notre Dame, Ohio State, Penn State, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin are the teams in contention for his final four visits when the dead period ends in early January, if he decides to use them all.
Like his first three visits, Cox said his visit to Michigan State went “really good.” This time, though, he had a chance to hang out with a lot of the players as they prepare for the Outback Bowl.
“I got to know the players better and hung out with the players a lot,” Cox said. “I got to see who I’d be playing with.”
Freshman safety RJ Williamson hosted Cox, and Cox said all of the players raved about playing for Michigan State secondary coach Harlon Barnett, who played defensive back for Michigan State in the 1980s.
“They said Coach Barnett is one of the best coaches to play under, especially if you want to run an NFL [defense] and be ready for the NFL,” Cox said.
Cox has not planned any of his remaining official visits. He said he will hold off on planning them until a few days before each weekend in January. Coaches from Michigan State, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Pittsburgh and Wisconsin visited with him last week before the dead period began.
Last week, Cox once again had to deal with a coaching change in his top group when Todd Graham resigned at Pitt and left for Arizona State, a school Cox is also considering. Cox named his top 12 during the season, and six of those programs – Arizona State, Kansas, Ohio State, Penn State, Pitt and Texas A&M – have had changes at the head coach position.
“It’s a shame something like that would happen,” Cox said of the situation at Pitt. “I never expected it to happen – never expected it. Hopefully they get another good coach in.”