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Sunday, January 13, 2013
Western Kentucky signs juco DT

By Damon Sayles

The track record of Bobby Petrino attracts a lot of players. Sunday afternoon, it attracted one Texas junior college defensive tackle.

Raphael Cox (Athens, Texas/Trinity Valley Community College) signed a national letter of intent to play for Western Kentucky and is expected to leave for Bowling Green, Ky., on Thursday. The DeSoto, Texas, native and mid-year juco transfer is commit No. 23 for Western Kentucky

Petrino, who was hired as the Hilltoppers head coach last month, is 75-26 since 2003, including a 21-5 record for the 2010 and 2011 seasons combined. Cox, a 6-foot-3, 271-pound tackle, chose Western Kentucky over an offer from New Mexico and interest from UNLV, UTEP and Wyoming.

“Honesly, it was the coaching staff, and I liked the environment,” Cox said. “I felt like it’d be a good place to be. They’re doing big things over there.

“Bobby Petrino has a good reputation of winning, and I really like that. I also got a chance to meet [defensive tackles coach] L.D. Scott, and I felt a connection with him. I feel like he can help me get to my goals in life.”

Petrino was recruited by defensive ends coach/recruiting coordinator Kevin Peoples, who resigned Saturday to reportedly join the staff at UAB. Cox, however, said he’s excited about the opportunity ahead of him, and he’s looking forward to being a contributor quickly. In eight games for Trinity Valley, Cox recorded 22 tackles and two pass breakups.

“Right off the bat, they told me to come in and immediately compete for a starting job,” Cox said. “I’m very confident in my play. I’m not going in cocky at all, but at the same time, I’m coming in to compete. I don’t know any guys who come out of junior college who don’t have those expectations.”

Cox will have three years to play two seasons.