University of South Carolina head football coach Will Muschamp has shuffled his coaching staff for the 2020 season, adding Joe Cox as the Gamecocks' tight ends coach, it was announced today. Cox comes to Columbia after spending the past five seasons as an assistant coach at Colorado State University.
Bobby Bentley, who mentored the tight ends in 2019 and has spent the past four seasons as an offensive assistant coach, will transition to the quarterbacks room, where he will assist offensive coordinator/quarterbacks coach Mike Bobo. To make room for Cox in an on-field position, Kyle Krantz will return to his role as a defensive analyst, a title he held from 2016-17, before working as the Nickels/SAM linebackers coach/special teams assistant for the past two seasons.
"I'm excited to add Joe to our staff," said Coach Muschamp. "He has a long relationship with Coach Bobo, who speaks very highly of him, and did a great job with the tight ends and wide receivers at Colorado State. Bobby will be able to bring his experience and expertise to assist with the quarterbacks, allowing Coach Bobo the luxury of being able to move around more during practice to observe the entire offense," continued Coach Muschamp. "Kyle has done a fantastic job for us, but in order to make this work for our offense, we needed to open up an on-field spot for Joe to come aboard."
Cox spent the 2019 season as the Rams' wide receivers coach after mentoring the tight ends from 2015-18. The former Georgia quarterback, who started every game in 2009 for Mike Bobo, joined the CSU staff as a graduate assistant in 2015 after coaching for two years at the high school level in his home state of North Carolina.
Cox helped propel a Rams' offense that turned in some of the most productive seasons in school history. CSU has posted two of the top five scoring seasons in school history (3rd-35.3 in 2016 and 5th-33.4 in 2017) and two of the top four marks for total offense with Cox on the staff, including a school-record 492.5 yards per game in 2017 (also 4th, 462.5 in 2016). The 2017 Rams also set school records for first downs per game (25.5) and third-down conversions (50.3 percent).
"I appreciate Coach Muschamp giving me this opportunity and I'm excited about continuing to work with Coach Bobo," said Cox. "We have a long history together - first at Georgia, then at Colorado State. I'm also looking forward to getting back to the South and the places where I'm most comfortable. I am anxious to get started working with this staff, the group I have this spring, and adding more quality players to the tight ends room."
In 2019, the Rams ranked 14th in the nation in passing offense, averaging 305.3 yards per game through the air. Junior wide receiver Warren Jackson averaged 111.9 receiving yards per game, fourth in the country, on 77 receptions with eight touchdowns in 10 games. True freshman wideout Dante Wright added 57 catches for 805 yards. Jackson and sophomore tight end Trey McBride (45 catches for 560 yards and four TDs) earned first-team All-Mountain West Conference honors.
In 2018, with Cox guiding a talented group of tight ends, the Rams ranked 13th in FBS in passing offense (304.9), registered the fourth-highest mark in school history for passing touchdowns with 26 and the 10th-best season for total offense, averaging 410.5 yards per game.
In 2016 the Rams' tight end corps was instrumental in helping the Rams to rank fourth in FBS in red-zone scoring (94.6 percent), as well as 12th in passing efficiency, 28th in scoring offense (35.3) and 30th in total offense (462.5). The unit also contributed to the Rams' stellar pass protection, which resulted in a No. 8 national ranking for fewest sacks allowed (1.0), including just one total in the final six games of the season. Their impact on the run game resulted in the second-highest yards-per-carry average (5.3) in school history and the second-best rushing total (2,832 net yards).
Cox was part of the coaching staff at Mallard Creek High School in Charlotte, N.C., from 2013-14 when the school won back-to-back state championships. He joined the Mallard Creek staff in 2013 as quarterbacks coach before being promoted to offensive coordinator in 2014.
As Georgia's starting quarterback in 2009, Cox completed 185-of-331 pass attempts for 2,584 yards and 24 touchdowns, at the time the second-best single-season total in UGA history. An offensive captain, Cox led the Bulldogs to a record of 8-5, and was named Walter Camp Offensive Player of the Week for his five-touchdown, 375-yard performance at Arkansas. For his career, Cox completed 56 percent of his passes for 3,016 yards and 29 touchdowns with 16 interceptions.