His high school resume in Baltimore made Adrian Coxson one of the most sought- after wideouts in the country. Name a big BCS school and Coxson likely was on its radar.
Three years and three colleges later, Coxson hopes to revive his career at Stony Brook. It may be a lower division, but Coxson believes it is the most level-headed decision he's made.
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The 6-1, 205-pound Coxson drew raves when he caught 40 passes for 987 yards and 12 touchdowns in his junior year at City College High School in 2008. He committed to Penn State but said he changed his mind when Florida (then coached by Urban Meyer) showed interest.
"I had all these big-time offers. I got caught up in the mess,'' Coxson said. "I was young. I saw the name 'Florida.' Nobody in our area had gotten offers from Florida. It was a big opportunity.''
Coxson arrived in Gainesville in the summer of 2010 but left after some early workouts, saying his father's illness required his presence at home.
"People said, 'I heard you weren't good enough to play, it was too hard, it was this and that,' '' Coxson said. "I didn't feel as if I needed my family situation out there. My father's blind and he has diabetes.''
Coxson then enrolled at Maryland under coach Ralph Friedgen. By the time Coxson was eligible last fall, Friedgen had been replaced by Randy Edsall. Coxson played sparingly in nine games as a redshirt freshman. His best game was against Boston College: three catches for 78 yards and a touchdown.
"I guess they used me as much as they wanted to use me,'' Coxson said. "I felt as though they could have used me more. I felt I should have played more. I felt as if I should have been out there. Once coach Friedgen left, I did feel as though the family aspect was gone.''
A spokesman at Maryland would not address Coxson's playing time, instead reiterating a comment Edsall made when Coxson transferred in December: "We appreciate everything that Adrian has done for us and hope everything works out for him in his future endeavors.''
Coxson said his dad, who now has a home health nurse, told him that "if I want to go away from home to play ball, that's something I should do.'' Coxson said he called some FBS schools before Stony Brook coach Chuck Priore made contact.
"Coach P and I had a talk. He kept it real with me,'' Coxson said. "I felt as though he was being real sincere with me. I didn't know anything about Stony Brook. Coach P can be in a meeting; if I knock on the door, he'll come out and speak to me. He wants to make sure everything is all right. That's a big factor.''
Priore said Coxson has a big upside. "If he plays his cards right and we play our cards right, I think we have an extremely gifted athlete who will be able to athletically stretch the field for us and be very successful,'' the seventh-year Seawolves coach said.
Because this is Coxson's second time transferring, Stony Brook will need a waiver from the NCAA for him to be eligible to play in games this fall, although he can practice and participate in team activities. If he gets the waiver, Coxson will have three years of eligibility left; if he doesn't, he will have two.
"I know I still have it, I still have the drive,'' Coxson said. "I would never stop my dream. This is a big opportunity for me here. Even if I have to sit out this year, I'm still going to work hard. It's not going to make a difference.''