LSU has experience winning some contested recruiting battles under Ed Orgeron’s leadership but there’s one offseason recruiting victory that may be getting overlooked more than any other around the SEC heading into the season.

When Jabril Cox announced he planned to play for LSU this offseason after being named a two-time All-American at North Dakota State, it was celebrated in Baton Rouge but the rest of the SEC — outside the coaching staffs that actively recruited Cox to their campus this offseason — may not realize just how big of a win that was for LSU’s defense.

During his most recent media availability, Orgeron was asked to discuss what was it about Cox’s game that landed the linebacker on LSU’s radar.

“First of all, he was an outstanding player at North Dakota State. They have a tremendous culture there. Those guys win, year in and year out, and he’s a great character young man,” Orgeron said on Tuesday. “Speaking to him on the phone, guys knew him, he came on highly recommended. Now the thing I saw on film was a big linebacker that could run and hit and key and diagnose. I didn’t know he was gonna be that good.

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“I think this guy is gonna have an excellent year at LSU. He definitely is an SEC linebacker. Obviously, he was overlooked in recruiting but here’s his shot. I think the thing I like most about Jabril is his maturity. He came in focused, he was going to win the starting job and be a great player.”

Orgeron hit on an interesting storyline that shouldn’t be overlooked. Cox came to LSU for two reasons, with the losses suffered by the Tigers this offseason, the path to a starting role at linebacker was open in Baton Rouge played a part but having the opportunity to prove himself at college football’s highest level before making the jump to the NFL was another factor.

As Coach O says, this is Cox’s time to shine, and based on the early reviews out of camp, the linebacker is seizing that opportunity.

“He came out with a great attitude. I mean, I said it this morning, I haven’t heard him say a word – maybe if I say a word to him, but his focus is razor-sharp,” Orgeron added when discussing Cox. “He’s always studying, very smart, knows the defense, very fast.

“I think Jabril is about 6-foot-3 about to 225 to 230 — and can run, key and diagnose. Obviously, he has a lot of experience playing the position. He’s a physical tackler. He can shed blocks well, rush the passer well, drops in coverage. He’s a complete linebacker.”

Orgeron has been very high on his freshman class all offseason but don’t be surprised if Cox is the one offseason addition that impacts LSU’s football team the most this offseason.

Photo credit: LSU Athletics