Former Mississippi State defensive tackle Fletcher Cox will have a familiar face to greet him as he begins a career in the National Football League.
Cox was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles in the first round with the 12th pick overall Thursday night at Radio City Music Hall in New York.
Former Bulldog and Cox teammate Jamar Chaney is already a member of the Eagles. Chaney was a seventh-round choice by Philadelphia in 2009.
Cox is the 10th first-round pick in Mississippi State history and the second in the last two years. It's the first time the Bulldogs have had a player drafted in the first round in back-to-back years since 1982 and 1983.
“I am so proud of Fletcher for the tremendous honor of being a first-round draft pick,” MSU football coach Dan Mullen said. “He has worked for everything he has earned and is the epitome of what being a Bulldog is all about.”
Cox, a three-year letterwnner for the Bulldogs on the defensive line, had 56 tackles during his junior season with 14.5 tackles for a loss and a fumble return of 52 yards (against Arkansas). He was an Associated Press and Coaches All-Southeastern Conference selection following last season.
The Yazoo City native began his MSU career well by making the Freshman All-SEC Team in 2009.
Cox, who is the first Bulldog defensive lineman chosen in the first round since Glen Collins was taken by the Cincinnati Bengals with the 26th pick in 1982, was credited with a 40-yard dash time of 4.7, considered outstanding for a defensive lineman.
Other former Bulldogs that could be drafted in the next couple of days or find themselves in a free-agent situation include running back Vick Ballard, safety Charles Mitchell, along offensive lineman Quinton Saulsberry and James Carmon.
Mullen said Ballard is "built for the NFL game" and likes his potential at the next level.
"Everybody has doubted him at every level and he wants to go out and prove you wrong," Mullen said. "I don't know what his 40 time was, but you turn on the film and he doesn't get caught very often. I want that guy. I don't need a track time. I want a guy that, when you put the ball in his hands, he makes plays."
Ballard averaged 6.2 yards per carry, rushing for 1,189 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior at MSU. His 4.65 time ranked 16th out of 25 running backs at the NFL combine.