Thursday, Feb. 7, 2008

Cox, Thomas make their choices

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Looking back Linganore High senior linebacker Todd Cox vividly remembers the start of his Lancers football career.

He was an eighth grader participating in summer workouts eager to make a mark within the storied program.

On Wednesday Cox and classmate C.J. Thomas, a wide receiver, officially began the next chapter of their pigskin lives by signing National Letters of Intent to accept full athletic scholarships for Towson University and the College of William and Mary respectively.

‘‘I can’t even explain it,” Cox said. ‘‘I cannot wait until school gets out. It’s a great opportunity at a great school.”

Lancers’ head coach Rick Conner called Cox and Thomas the cornerstones of the Linganore’s success over the past three seasons. During their tenures, the Lancers have posted a 25-8 mark, won two Monocacy Valley Athletic League Chesapeake Conference titles and reached the state playoffs on three occasions.

‘‘When I recall these guys it’s hard to believe that we won’t have them here next year,” Conner said. ‘‘I’ll just remember how Todd didn’t care who we were playing, he just couldn’t wait for that challenge of our next game. With C.J., it’s his development as a wide receiver over the past three years and how really super he became at that position. I am very happy and proud for both of these guys and their parents.”

Both players’ resumes are filled with accolades.

Thomas was a consensus First Team All-State selection. He was named to a pair of first team All-Gazette and first team All-MVAL Chesapeake rosters and was honored, along with Stefan Mitchell of North Carroll, as Beef O’ Brady’s 2007 Co-Offensive Player of the Year. He leaves Linganore as the MVAL’s all time leader in receiving touchdowns (26), overall receptions (104) and regular season receptions (89). Last season he broke the state record for touchdowns in a single campaign, including playoffs, with 19.

‘‘I don’t think I could have gotten it [scholarship] without the help of my teammates and coaches,” Thomas said.

Cox is a three-time first team All-Gazette and All-MVAL Chesapeake selection. Recognized as Beef O’ Brady’s 2007 Defensive Player of the Year, he was also named as a second-team All-State performer. He is the MVAL’s third all-time leading tackler and led the Lancers in takedowns during each of his three varsity seasons.

The duo took different paths in selecting a school. Cox decided on Towson before the commencement of his senior year of school. Thomas weighed his options and eventually opted for William and Mary after visiting the institution.

‘‘I went down there and it felt really good,” Thomas said. ‘‘It felt like home.”

Although they lined up on different sides of the ball and are headed to different schools Cox and Thomas will always look to Linganore and their coach as the foundation of their success.

‘‘I would not have gone to Linganore I don’t know where I would have ended up,” Cox said. ‘‘Coach Conner just runs a great program. He got me in the weight room starting in eighth grade after school. I’ve had a pretty successful career there and it’s been great.”