Countdown to Kickoff: 28 Days (Nick Cox and Will Dawkins)

Written By T.J. Inman

#28

We are less than a month away from the season opener against Southern Illinois! As we get ever closer to the season, and ever deeper into the dog days of summer, the countdown is taking a double dip to get you through #28. On offense, #28 is worn by Nick Cox. On defense, we’ll take a look at redshirt freshman Will Dawkins.

Nick Cox

  • Height: 6’1”
  • Weight: 210 pounds
  • Hometown: Northbrook, IL./Glenbrook North High School
  • Year/Position: Redshirt Freshman/WR

Glenbrook North High School has produced some very high-quality athletes in the not-too-distant past. Northwestern men’s basketball coach Chris Collins is a 1992 graduate, star second baseman Jason Kipnis graduated in 2005 and former Duke star Jon Scheyer graduated from Glenbrook North in 2006. Nick Cox might never win a national title or play in the big leagues but he was a terrific athlete in his own right during his three-sport high school career at the suburban Chicago high school. Cox, a 6’1” redshirt freshman, lettered in track and field, baseball and football and was a three year starter at both wide receiver and defensive back. Cox earned two all-conference selections and had offers to play at Division II schools such as San Diego and North Dakota State. However, his love for IU convinced him that Bloomington was the place he needed to be.

“I sort of fell in love with the school,” Cox told the Chicago Tribune. “I just could never let that go. I knew if I had the opportunity to play football, that’s something I would love to do, whether it was being a walk-on, or being a part of a program as great as Indiana.”

Cox chose to walk-on at IU and was switched from safety to wide receiver during his redshirt season. He spent the year absorbing as much as possible and has been working hard to earn playing time in 2015. “We work out pretty much every day,” Cox said. “It’s just about taking that extra step every day and in everything I do, getting better on the field as a player and a person.”

The depth chart is very crowded and it’s unlikely Cox will see the field much, if at all, during the 2015 season. However, if he can continue to improve, his 6’1” frame and obvious athleticism (you don’t letter in three sports by luck) could provide him with the opportunity to earn some playing time later in his career.

Will Dawkins

  • Height: 5’11”
  • Weight: 198 pounds
  • Hometown: Vero Beach, FL./Vero Beach High School
  • Year/Position: Redshirt Freshman/Safety

In early February of 2014, Will Dawkins committed to play for the Indiana Hoosiers. It was a surprise to many. After all, the 5’11” prospect from Vero Beach, Florida had offers from several college football powers including Ohio State and Michigan State. However, coaches Brandon Shelby and Deland McCullough convinced Dawkins that Bloomington was the place for him and the 3-star athlete continued IU’s fledgling pipeline into the Sunshine State.

Prior to committing to IU, Dawkins was a three-year starter at both wide receiver and defensive back for head coach Lenny Jankowski at Vero Beach High School. He was named team captain for his senior season and had 44 tackles and five interceptions. His play garnered him the number 22 ranking for safeties by ESPN.com and a 3-star rating from 247Sports. In addition to football, Dawkins lettered in basketball, baseball and track and field.

Will Dawkins redshirted the 2014 season and was dealt a blow before spring practice as he was ruled out with an NCAA eligibility issue. He is expected to be available for the 2015 season and recent changes in the secondary could see Dawkins relied upon more than initially expected. Antonio Allen is long gone and Laray Smith has transferred to Delaware State. Does Dawkins take Laray Smith’s spot on the depth chart at cornerback? That’s possible. Or maybe he will battle Kiante Walton and Tony Fields for the safety position next to Chase Dutra. I think the NCAA issue has put Dawkins behind Walton and Tony Fields and it’s entirely possible that players like Ben Bach and Noel Padmore are well ahead of him now as well. However, Dawkins is only a redshirt freshman and he definitely has the athleticism and skill to eventually make an impact as a Hoosier.

I hope you enjoyed your double dose of the countdown! We have a lot of great content coming up that should help make the remaining 28 days of the offseason fly by so keep on coming back to Hoosier Huddle!