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Friday, March 01, 2024

Brenton Cox Jr. dismissed from Florida football program

The redshirt junior has since declared for the NFL Draft

Florida outside linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. during the Gators' game against Georgia Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.
Florida outside linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. during the Gators' game against Georgia Saturday, Oct. 29, 2022.

Redshirt junior outside linebacker Brenton Cox Jr. has been dismissed from Florida’s football team head coach Billy Napier announced Monday. The story was first reported by Zach Abolverdi of Gators Online. 

“We’ve kind of decided to move on here,” Napier said. “Being a football player at the University of Florida is a privilege, there’s certain expectations and standards that come with that.”

Napier did not comment on what specifically led to Cox’s dismissal from the program.

“I don’t know if we’d get specific relative to what caused the decision,” Napier said. “I think it’s more of a cumulative effect here.”

Cox transferred to Florida in 2019 after starting his college career at Georgia. He played three seasons for the Gators and earned All-SEC second team honors after the 2020 season. Cox finishes his Florida career with 12.5 sacks and 28.5 tackles for loss.

The redshirt junior pass rusher was named the Co-SEC defensive lineman of the week earlier this season and started the Gators’ first eight games prior to his dismissal, totaling 35 tackles. 

Cox released a statement on Twitter Monday night, about seven hours after the news broke, announcing his intention to enter the upcoming 2023 NFL Draft. 

“I find it hard to express my disappointment in being dismissed from the team. It is truly a shock,” his statement read. “I have always had a competitive spirit. I think sometimes that gets misconstrued.”

Whether Cox will be allowed to participate in a UF hosted Pro Day before his turn to the NFL was another topic Napier elected to not fully comment on. 

“We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it,” Napier said. 

Abolverdi’s post on Twitter was initially retweeted by senior safety Trey Dean III. His post said “this is false” fully capitalized. Once Napier confirmed the news at his Monday press conference, Dean deleted the tweet.  

Napier said the team will look toward its depth throughout the rest of the season. He singled out outside linebackers Lloyd Summerall III and Antwaun Powell-Ryland Jr. as the prime candidates to see more playing time in Cox’s place. 

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Summerall has made appearances in all but one game this season, missing Saturday’s contest against Georgia. He has just three total tackles on the season. On the other hand, Powell-Ryland hasn’t missed a game. He has 11 total tackles and a tackle for loss to his name this year. 

Napier emphasized that he wanted to keep the details about Cox’s dismissal “in house.” Florida will continue to help Cox moving forward and made the decision for the health of the team, Napier said. 

Redshirt sophomore defensive back Jaydon Hill provided a player’s perspective on Cox’s dismissal. Hill said he was caught off guard by the news but leaves those decisions up to Napier.

“It definitely sends a strong message through the locker room,” Hill said. “That’s my guy. I’m still rooting for [Brenton] to this day.” 

The Gators defense will move on without Cox this Saturday in College Station, Texas, against the Texas A&M Aggies. 

Contact Topher Adams at tadams@alligator.org. Follow him on Twitter @Topher_Adams.

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Topher Adams

Topher Adams is a fourth-year communications major and in his fourth semester with the Alligator. He previously covered football, baseball and women's basketball. He also enjoys professional lacrosse and Major League Soccer.


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