West Virginia senior transfer Jasir Cox believes he brings more to Morgantown than just versatility and a key piece in the defensive backfield.
In fact, Cox brings a trait that one would be hard-pressed to find much of anywhere else on West Virginia’s roster.
That is championship pedigree. A ton of it.
Cox was part of three FCS national championships while spending the past four seasons at North Dakota State, and those titles came after a Kansas state championship while at Bishop Miege High School in his senior year.
For the bulk of Cox’s gridiron career, losing has been a mostly foreign experience. He plans on keeping it that way at WVU.
“I feel able to make a big impact even off the field with teammates to show them a winner’s mentality,” Cox said during a media session on Thursday. “Being at North Dakota State, winning three national championships, it’s taught me to see the good things in football and it’s actually humbling for most of the players to see that. I am a guy that’s won three national championships and I can bring insights to everyone and to show them how it’s really done. But with everything going here, I like what I see and I see a big change. I feel hopeful for this year that we’ll have a great season.”
Of course, Cox meant that both in terms of team and individual scenarios. But for him, success will depend on his adapting to a foreign position — the spear. While spending four seasons as a linebacker with the Bison, Cox’s size — 6-foot-1, 204 pounds — may lend itself better to the spear, a hybrid safety/linebacker position, at the Division-I Power Five level.
Only redshirt sophomore Naim Mohammed is listed at spear other than Cox, further necessitating that Cox be a quick study. Already, Cox, who made his transfer official in May, said he has a good handle on what the position requires.
“Every day, I’m getting better, learning the playbook, so I’m pretty happy about that,” Cox said. “I would just say [the spear] is a player that’s a jack of all trades. You cover tight ends, you come down and take on offensive linemen, you have to guard the shiftiest player out there — the slot receivers. He’s just a Swiss army knife, honestly.
“I’ve done a lot of research on the position and the team as well. They’re really useful with this position. He’s a real flexible guy and I’m capable of that.”
Cox said that he chose West Virginia over several other schools, including Oklahoma State and Texas. But while WVU may not have the championship history of North Dakota State, Cox said he’s found several similarities in Morgantown and within the program, and that those things helped him make his decision and have also helped him settle in more quickly.
“I just think about it as culture — having a brotherhood, that’s one thing that sticks out here and at my old school,” Cox said. “At North Dakota State, everybody knows you and I think that coincides here.”
Cox said he also sees some of the things that set the Bison apart occurring within the WVU program as well.
“We would always talk about Bison pride, it was really a brotherhood, knowing that we played for people who played their probably 30 years ago,” Cox said. “We would see them around the facilities. They were really an inspiration for why we play the game we do. I’m starting to see that here as well, bringing in former coaches and former players seeing that this game means more to us, means more to the city, means more to the school. Playing for the guy next to you and the people around you. That was a big inspiration to us and why we were such a winning culture.”
While losing certainly isn’t something Cox is accustomed to experiencing, he understands that expecting a 12-0 season and a national championship is quite lofty in Morgantown. No matter the results, Cox said he is prepared to try to help the Mountaineers respond.
“My decision coming here was to make a change, make a difference in the program, and two, to show people personally that I’m able to play in the FBS,” Cox said. “I feel that winning is winning and knowing that mentality that you’re able to touch guys that haven’t experienced that on this staff or wherever you go.
“I feel here we’re going to have ups and downs but I just want my teammates to know it’s OK to have ups and downs.”