Life just got a little tougher for the Manatee High football program this spring, though we should not be surprised.
St. Thomas Aquinas, which reloads its football roster better than most college programs, just keeps getting richer and richer.
The school, which is known for bringing in highly touted seniors in its own version of one and done and fielding what is basically an all- star squad, apparently isn’t going to miss a beat even with a new coach.
Bryan Cox Jr., one of the most highly touted high school players in the Class of 2012, is transferring from Avon High in Ohio to St. Thomas, it has been reported in numerous publications.
Rivals.Com and ESPN.Com have already listed St. Thomas Aquinas as Cox’s new high school.
The 6-3, 230-pound defensive end has received 16 offers from major college football programs according to Rivals.Com and many more are expected. Among the official suitors are those from Miami, Michigan State, Iowa, Pittsburgh and West Virginia.
Avon finished 10-1 last year winning all of its regular season games. Cox was credited with 38 solo tackles, which he feels is misleading because teams ran away from his side.
Bryan is the son of former Miami Dolphins All-Pro linebacker Bryan Cox, who played 12 seasons in the NFL.
The Miami Dolphins hired Cox as its pass rush coach last February. He spent the previous two seasons as the defensive line coach for the Cleveland Browns.
Manatee and St. Thomas Aquinas will be in the new Class 7A division after competing in 5A. The Raiders have won three of the last four 5A state titles and been to the championship game in six of the last seven years.
The only time St. Thomas Aquinas failed to make the title game was in 2009 when Manatee defeated the Raiders in the semifinal in what was one of the program’s greatest victories considering the reality of what is going on at the Fort Lauderdale school.