By Tony Tsoukalas / Sports Writer
The Meridian Star
Monday was a huge day for head football coach Ellis Johnson and the Southern Miss Golden Eagles, not for anything concerning the 2012 season, but the future instead.
USM landed two class of 2013 commitments in linebacker Luke Davis and three-star wide receiver James Cox. The commitments bring USM’s 2013 class total to 14.
Perhaps the biggest surprise of the day was when Cox, who was thought to be favoring the University of Cincinnati, told USM coaches he was ready to commit.
“They were super excited, man,” Cox said. “They really did a good job of putting things together over there, and I feel real comfortable. The academic side of things, I fit real well. It is just a real home for me.”
The Tuscaloosa, Ala., native is part of a two-headed offensive attack at Northridge High School along with junior running back Bo Scarbrough. Cox is prepared to carry over the success from his junior season, where he caught 38 passes for 658 yards in the Jaguars run-first offense.
“The biggest change for him has been body weight, he has really committed to the weight room,” Northridge coach Mike Smith said. “We are definitely going to throw to him, because we feel like he can win for us. Hopefully, that will make them have to play somebody down low and somebody up top and open up opportunities for other players to make big plays.”
Cox said he loves just about everything USM has to offer, especially the team’s uniforms. Cox has always been a big fan of Nike, who sponsors the Golden Eagles, and he cannot wait to don the black and gold once he gets to college.
However, Cox doesn’t just like the way USM looks on the field, he also likes what they do. The 6-foot, 190-pound receiver said he is impressed by the offense at USM and is excited at the opportunity to play early at the next level.
“I like their offense, they throw that ball around,” Cox said. “Coach said he is going to use me multiple ways. He likes splitting me out, using me in the slot and putting me in the backfield for some bubble screens.
“There is also an opportunity to get on the field early. They have four receivers who are juniors right now. It’s a great opportunity to get on the field early for a big-time program.”
Davis committed to USM on Monday while visiting the campus. He said the program’s recent success and the atmosphere on campus played an important role in his decision.
“I really love Hattiesburg,” Davis said. “It’s a great town, and it’s everything I want for the next four years. I’m wanted there, and I was high on their chart. They won a conference championship last season, and I want to play for a team that knows how to win.
“I’ve already talked with some of the guys that have committed. I’m pretty sure that last years’ class, my class and the class coming are really going to help Southern Miss. for the next four years.”
The 6-2, 210-pound Davis plays safety at Hewitt Trussville High School in Trussville, Ala., but he projects to play the at the linebacker spot at the next level.
The talented defender said it was good to get his decision out of the way so he can focus his whole attention on improving himself for his senior season.
“The recruiting process, you have to have a lot of patience with it,” Davis said. “Committing is great because it takes a lot of weight off my shoulders, and I can focus on my senior year and my team here in high school.”