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St. Thomas More QB Nate Cox is not just a tall lanky quarterback but is a good athlete as well. Here he is about to throw the football on the run. (Photo provided by the Times-Picayune)

Recruiting Spotlight: QB Nate Cox, St. Thomas More

QB Nate Cox, St. Thomas More

If you walked up to Nate Cox, you would probably think that he plays for the NBA not high school football. Cox is a legit 6’8 at 190 lbs and has a really good arm. Because of his height and arm strength, Cox has the look and potential to be a great starting quarterback for years to come. One of the few things that is against him is his experience. This is Cox’s first year starting quarterback for the Cougars and he is a senior. However, Cox waited his turn and learned the offense under one of the winningest coaches in state history in St. Thomas More Head Coach Jim Hightower and the quarterbacks that came before him were really good as well in William Bellamy and Matthew Gardner. Now, in his senior season, it is Nate Cox’s turn to run the offense and he has shown that he can run it effectively in these first seven games of the season. So far, the tall, lanky quarterback has thrown for 24 touchdowns to only three interceptions and has completed over 60% of his passes. Cox has not played like a first year starter but more like a four year starter. Louisiana Football Magazine Editor and T.V. Host Lee Brecheen is impressed by the St. Thomas More quarterback so far and believes that he can only get bigger, better, and gain more experience.

“I saw Nate Cox play this past week against Carencro,” Brecheen said. “He is a true 6’8 and once he puts on twenty to thirty more pounds, he will be ready to be a great quarterback. He could go to a prep school or sign with a D-II school, a D-III school or even a small D-I school and redshirt. Cox has done a great job with the little experience that he has had. Cox has a great arm and knows where to throw the ball. I believe he still needs another year to grow.”

That is a scary sign for defenses when Nate Cox figures it all out. Last year, the St. Thomas More Cougars rode the QB-WR connection of Bellamy and Trevor Begue. It sure seems like it could do the same thing with Cox and Griffin Hebert, who is one of the best receivers in the state. Just hopefully, this year’s QB-WR combination can lead the Cougars to even a step further and that is a state championship win. We caught up with the talented St. Thomas More quarterback and he talked about sitting on the bench and learning the system the last couple of years, how he uses his height to his advantage, his relationship with Hebert, the start to this season, and so much more in today’s recruiting interview!

St. Thomas More QB Nate Cox has not looked like a first time starter this year due to his composure in the pocket. (Photo provided by the Daily Advertiser)

St. Thomas More QB Nate Cox has not looked like a first time starter this year due to his composure in the pocket. (Photo provided by the Daily Advertiser)

LAFM: What’s your name, age, position you play, and school you play for?

Nate Cox, 17, QB, St. Thomas More

LAFM: What’s your height and weight?

6’8, 190

LAFM: What’s your ACT score and GPA?

23 ACT & 3.2 GPA

LAFM: What’s your current stats for this year?

1860 yds, 24 TD’s, 61% completion, 3 ints

LAFM: Have you received any interests from colleges or offers?

No.

LAFM: Who are some people in your family that persuaded you to play football?

My dad was big on me playing football. Before this year, I didn’t really enjoy football because I hardly got any action on the field and was mostly a basketball guy. My dad really pushed me to stay at it and continue working hard. Basketball was my sport of choice, but I have to say football is right up there with it now.

LAFM: The last couple of years, you were the backup quarterback to star quarterback Will Bellamy and Matthew Gardner. Did those guys gave you any advice for the upcoming season? If so, what did they tell you?

Besides my coach, Shane Savoie, those two guys taught me everything there is to know about our offense and what it takes to play quarterback. At any time during practice or junior varsity games, they would be there watching me play and correcting my mistakes. Will and Matt were fantastic leaders, and being able to look up to them for three years really helped me strengthen my leadership qualities. I wanted the respect they received from teammates, coaches, and the community, and they helped pave the way for me this year. Will still keeps in touch with me after every game and is always a good teacher when I have questions about anything.

LAFM: This is your first year as the starter but you have all the intangibles to be a great quarterback including your height and arm strength? Do those intangibles make it easier for you to play in this offense and be successful?

I think my height gives me a huge advantage in seeing the defense and being able to make the right read and throw. I have the utmost respect for guys like Will Bellamy and Drew Brees (New Orleans Saints QB), because they are relatively smaller quarterbacks who really have to work to be able to see over the line. In Coach Shane’s office, reading defensive backs and linebackers is one of the hardest parts of the job and my height helps lessen this burden.

You are 6’8 almost 200 lbs. Do you study tall quarterbacks like Zack Mettenberger, Cam Newton, Paxton Lynch, Brock Osweiler to see how they use their height and adjust it to their game?

When Brock Osweiler (former Arizona State and Denver Broncos quarterback currently with the Houston Texans) hit the scene last year for Denver I looked him up on Google and watched almost every video there is on him. Seeing a guy my height thriving in the NFL in the postseason was mind blowing for me, and honestly made me feel a little more confident in what I was doing. Seeing Brock play made me say, hey they’re actually guys out there just like me. Growing up I always wanted to be a quarterback like Minnesota Vikings QB Teddy Bridgewater (my favorite player) and Johnny Manziel (former Texas A&M and Cleveland Browns QB), but with the big gain in height came the big downfall in speed, and I realized I would have to push that mindset to the side.

LAFM: Will Bellamy and Trevor Begue was a deadly combination for the Cougars over their careers. This year, there seems to be another great combination with you and Griffin Hebert. What is your relationship with Griffin like and how has the communication been between you and him on the field?

On and off the field, Griffin and I are best buds. Our friendship really grew during last year’s basketball season and throughout this summer. On the field, we both know exactly what each other is thinking. For example, if I were to see a weakness in the defense and wanted to tell Griffin to run a specific route, he would know immediately what route I would want to call. The summer 7 on 7 tournaments really strengthened this on field chemistry between us two.

LAFM: What is it like playing in a pass heavy system under Coach Hightower with the amount of weapons on the team?

First I would like to put my O-line in the spotlight, because with them, my job becomes A LOT easier. Being able to sit in the pocket and have all the time in the world to make a throw is any quarterbacks dream, and I am proud to say week by week I can do just this. Coach Hightower demands the most out of us on offense and doesn’t just want to see us succeed but to thrive. With the weapons I am gifted with on offense, I can say that it would be hard for a quarterback not to have the numbers I currently have because they make the job so easy.

LAFM: Like you mentioned, you also play basketball. Does anything in basketball translate and helps you in football?

My junior year in basketball really helped show me what it’s like to be in the heat of the moment and how to stay calm during crunch time. I was put in some pretty intense situations last year, and I can say it helped me be able to stay cool during games this year out on the turf.

LAFM: Let’s talk about the team. The team is 4-3 after making the state championship and being highly ranked in the preseason. The team has lost close games to Hahnville, Sulphur, and Catholic High but has also beat some other good teams like Carencro and Plaquemine. How do you grade your individual play so far as well as the team’s play in the first seven games?

I would grade my individual play so far as a C. There were several times this year where I tried to do too much in specific situations instead of doing as I was taught. I would grade my team’s play at around a B+. Week after week, we continue to get better and each individual is learning and understanding more and more. We still have a few bust here and there that need to be fixed in order to fulfill our dreams of a state championship.

LAFM: What are your strengths as a quarterback?

I would say my strengths as a quarterback is my calm presence in the pocket, and being able to go through my reads and not try to force a throw anywhere.

LAFM: What are things that you are trying to improve on in your first year as a starter?

The things I would like to improve as my first year as a starter are not skill related, but being more of a leader for my team. I would like to be the guy they look to in tough times, and for them to know I have their backs through whatever they chose to do in not just football but life.

LAFM: If you had to compare yourself to a college or NFL quarterback, who would it be and why?

Brock Osweiler, pretty self-explanatory I would say.

LAFM: What are your individual goals for the rest of the season?

Become a better role model for the young guns on the team and be able to look up in my final game as a Cougar with a trophy in my hand and see a beautifully illuminated dome.

LAFM: What would mean for you to lead the team to the Dome once again and win the state championship for the Cougars for the very first time?

It would mean everything. All the guys on the team experienced the heart breaking loss last year and want no more than to win that final game. The thought of being the first team to win it in school history gives me the chills.

LAFM: Is there anybody that you need to thank for putting you in position that you are in today?

First of all, I would like to thank God for giving me the ability to go out and play the game I love, because I know some kids that can’t be out there and would do anything to be out playing football. I would also like to thank my parents for working hard and allowing me to go to such a good school and receive a good education. Last but not least, I want to thank my coach, Coach Savoie. He has stuck with me through thick and thin and wants no more than to see me succeed. He is an awesome inspiration for me and helps me grow on and off the field. I couldn’t thank him more for what he has done for me.

LAFM: What do you want to tell the scouts reading this article?

I would like to tell the scouts reading this article that I am a guy that regardless of the outcome will work hard each and every day to be the best benefit to the team as possible. Also, don’t let my rushing stats fool you I am saving that for later in the season.

Hey football fans. Like our recruiting interviews and human interest stories? Click on our website daily to view articles on recruits, coaches, and so much more at our website: http://lafootballmagazine.com/ . Also, our 20th anniversary edition of Louisiana Football Magazine is coming out. It has previews for every college and high school team from LSU to all the 1-A schools. Also, Lee gives out his All-Louisiana team and breaks down position by position on every high school player in the state. So, why  wait and pre order the magazine now at http://lafootballmagazine.com/product/la-football-magazine-2016-annual-preview/

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About Jace LeJeune

Jace is from Addis, LA but resides in Port Allen, LA. Jace attends Southeastern Louisiana University and is majoring in Journalism. This is Jace's third year as Associate Editor at Louisiana Football Magazine. He is also a graduate from Catholic High School in Baton Rouge where he was the editor of the school newspaper the “Bearly Published.” While at CHS, Jace also announced their football, basketball, and baseball games for the Bruin Broadcast Network which is the Catholic High’s streaming website for their events. On weekends, Jace is the PA announcer for his middle school football games. At home, Jace enjoys time with his family and friends. Besides being a huge football fan, Jace is also an avid NHRA drag racing fan.