Lake City's Cox signs with Winona State
LAKE CITY – The next stop in Elliot Cox’s football career is just a quick trip south on Highway 61.
During national signing day Wednesday morning, the Lake City running back signed his National Letter of Intent to play football at Division II Winona State University.
While it was football that had coaches coming after the Tigers’ speedsters, it was ultimately academics that brought him to Winona.
“It was really tight between Winona State and Concordia-St. Paul. Both schools are great programs and I could see myself at both schools,” Cox said. “But the big thing was my major (athletic training). It worked out better there. Winona’s program is accredited, so I could finish in four years.”
A two-time All-Area selection, Cox accumulated 1,337 rushing yards and 29 total touchdowns in the last two seasons combined. In 2013, he carried the ball 80 times for 542 yards and seven touchdowns and he had 10 catches for 264 yards and three scores before a broken leg ended his season after just five games.
The injury was certainly a hurdle for the Cox, but like defenders in the Hiawatha Valley League, it was an easy obstacle to overcome for the 6-foot, 185-pound running back.
“It was tough, but it motivated me to work harder,” Cox said. “I knew I couldn’t just stroll through it and hope for the best recovery. I had to put my best foot forward and get there. It’s very surreal signing today.”
Winona State also has been a model of consistency under head coach Tom Sawyer, who has led the Warriors since 1996. Sawyer is sixth among D-II coaches in winning percentage and eighth in total victories. In 2013, Winona State went 6-5, finishing in a tie for third in the NSIC South.
“It’s assuring to know that my head coach will be there all four or five years, however long I’m there,” Cox said.
And for a running back, Winona State is one of the top landing spots in the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference. Since the NSIC expanded in 2008, the Warriors have averaged over 200 yards rushing in four of six seasons.
It’s a while before he’s able to suit up for the Warriors, but Cox is anxious to get going.
“I got to work my tail off to get where I want to be and get to the goals I want to make,” he said.