There was D.J. Shockley, and now there is Joe Cox. They communicate often. As a matter of fact, Georgia’s last quarterback to start during his fifth and final season with the Bulldogs probably is calling or texting the current one right now.
Avoid this. Do that.
Whip the Gators, and don’t get stung again by You Know Who on the Flats.
“We talk maybe once a week,” said Shockley, a Falcons backup these days, but he still bleeds red and black. As a result, he is doing everything he can to turn Cox into his 2005 clone at Georgia.
Let’s pause to give those in the Bulldog Nation time to bark loudly for somebody to whom they owe much anyway. Shockley should have transferred early in his Georgia career to start elsewhere. Instead, he tossed the Bulldogs a gift by spending four seasons as David Greene’s backup.
Then came Shockley’s moment for the ages four years ago, when he completed 55 percent of his passes for 24 touchdowns and five interceptions. He led Georgia to an SEC title. He was third behind Reggie Bush and Vince Young in voting for Associated Press player of the year.
Could Cox finish in the vicinity of something like that this season? Well, that’s the reason for these frequent huddles between Shockley and Cox, now the designated guy at Georgia since Matthew Stafford left early as a likely high pick in this month’s NFL draft.
“The first time I started talking to Joe, it was more along the lines of what you’ve got to do,” Shockley said. “He actually kind of reached out to me at the start, and I’ve known him for a while since he was there during my senior year. Now it’s more that I’m reaching out to him to see if he’s doing the right things to take over the team and things like that.”
In regard to those things, Shockley likes what he sees and hears of a gutsy quarterback who has played little in college but who was a standout in Charlotte at Independence High School. He managed a state-record 66 touchdown passes while taking his team to its fifth consecutive state title his senior year. He also was 31-0 as a starter.
More impressively, Cox was a leader back then, and Shockley said nothing has changed. Consider, too, that Shockley knows something about leaders since he was a splendid one at Georgia.
“Joe is a little more fiery than me, because he will get in your face and yell at you and all of that kind of stuff,” said Shockley, who prefers mellow. “That’s not to say I wouldn’t do those types of things, but Joe is a born leader, and that’s going to come out just by him walking out on the field. Guys are going to follow him. It’s his overall demeanor that demands respect from everybody. Just from talking to him, I don’t feel there’s any pressure on him.”
Shockley knows, because he once was Cox. Whether Cox is Shockley, well, Cox at least has to beat Georgia Tech.