Will Jabril Cox leave North Dakota State a year early or won't he? That could be a question hanging over the Bison season this year.
Little tends to go wrong at the FCS dynasty in Fargo, but Cox's NFL-ready skills may have the fourth-year junior thinking about early entry into the 2020 NFL Draft.
The 6-foot-3, 233-pound All-American would be the top draft prospect from the FCS should he depart NDSU.
Voted the 2018 Missouri Valley Football Conference defensive player of the year as a sophomore, Cox is long and athletic and has great range. Last season, he led the FCS champions with 91 tackles and had four interceptions, returning pick-sixes in consecutive games, which hadn't happened with the Bison in 51 years.
"He’s such a playmaker," said former NDSU head coach Chris Klieman (now at Kansas State). "He's 6-foot-3 and 233 pounds (yet) he can run as fast as anybody we have on the team. That's pretty special to have."
Only 13 FCS players were selected in the 2019 NFL Draft last week — the lowest total in the decade. But the start of a new decade offers the possibility of a bumper crop for the lower half of Division I.
NFL Draft Bible offered an early look at 2020 FCS prospects, listing 34 FCS players in its top 250 seniors. The FCS players on the list:
67. Malachi Jean, DT, Prairie View A&M
93. Rashard Robinson, CB, James Madison
101. Sam Kamara, DT, Stony Brook
117. Nigel Kilby, TE, Southern Illinois
132. Ron’Dell Carter, DE, James Madison
137. Jequez Ezzard, WR, Howard
145. Sterling Jenkins, OT, Duquesne
157. Isiah Swann, CB, Dartmouth
159. Josh Pearson, WR, Jacksonville State
160. Marlon Bridges, FS, Jacksonville State
177. Cam Gill, OLB, Wagner
178. Dante Olson, ILB, Montana
179. James Robinson, RB, Illinois State
180. Manny Patterson, CB, Maine
183. Christian Rozeboom, ILB, South Dakota State
185. T.J. Floyd, CB, Princeton
186. Zack Johnson, OT, North Dakota State
187. J’Von Brown, OG, Central Connecticut State
188. Nick Wheeler, DE/OLB, Colgate
189. John Daka, OLB, James Madison
191. Noah Johnson, OG, Idaho
193. Reid Harrison-Ducros, CB, Duquesne
195. Michael Bandy, WR, San Diego
196. Zach Hall, ILB, Southeast Missouri
197. Jonas Griffith, ILB, Indiana State
200. Charlie Taumoepeau, TE, Portland State
202. A.J. Hines, RB, Duquesne
208. Chase Vinatieri, PK, South Dakota State
219. Kameron Brown, WR, Charleston Southern
234. Tyrone Wheatley Jr., TE, Stony Brook (not listed on current roster)
235. Jamond Glass, CB, Samford
238. Mason Alstatt, SS, Wofford
249. Jamari Hester, WR, Jacksonville State
250. Tom Flacco, QB, Towson
— Written by Craig Haley, who is part of the Athlon Contributor Network. Haley has covered the FCS level since 1999 and is the national writer for www.fcs.football. He appears frequently on radio shows and podcasts to discuss everything FCS. Follow him on Twitter @CraigHaley.
(Photo courtesy of North Dakota State Athletics)