Cox contributes as runner, receiver, and returner to Scots’ attack
Like many successful offenses, Highland Park’s prolific unit is driven in large part by its unpredictability.
One key to that proficiency this season has been Jay Cox, a versatile junior who has lined up at running back and slot receiver, in addition to returning punts for the Scots.
“My role is just being a utility player, just going wherever they need me,” Cox said. “I love doing all of those things.”
At 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, Cox’s game is more about speed than power. But if you’re a defender, don’t let his diminutive stature fool you.
“He’s a real breakaway threat,” said HP head coach Randy Allen. “He has a knack for breaking tackles and finding open space and using his blockers to make long runs after the catch.”
After a standout season at the junior varsity level, Cox was slated to add depth at running back this fall. But injuries among the receivers opened up another opportunity for Cox in the passing game.
“Coming up from JV to varsity, there were a whole bunch of different new plays just for running backs,” he said. “Then, in the spring, I had to learn a lot of plays at receiver. I just had to grind on that.”
He made an immediate impact on national television in a season-opening loss to Southlake Carroll when he caught a 51-yard touchdown pass for HP’s first points of the season. A few weeks later, he rushed for a career-high 87 yards and scored in a win over Sherman.
Through the first half of the season, Cox was second on the Scots in both rushing yardage and receiving yardage. He hopes to reach 1,000 all-purpose yards by the end of the year.
Allen also praised Cox’s aggressive mentality on punt returns, which earned him a few snaps at the varsity level during the Scots’ playoff run a year ago.
Cox has been part of a potent trio of running backs alongside Christian Reeves and Ben Croasdale.
“All three of us have a very good relationship,” Cox said. “When one of us scores, it feels like all three of us score.”
Added Allen: “They’re impressive in their own way, but they all have different talents and strengths. They all complement each other.”