By Matt Leon

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Rakim Cox was a four-year starter along the defensive line at Villanova. He wrapped up his college career with an outstanding senior season in 2013 as he led the Wildcats with nine sacks.

This success caught the eyes of NFL teams, specifically the Minnesota Vikings, and they signed him as a rookie free agent after the draft.

Cox is now getting ready for his first pro training camp after wrapping up participation in the Vikings off-season program.

“It was exciting,” Cox tells KYW Newsradio. “Being a rookie coming out, it’s kind of scary. You’ve got this playbook, you’ve got meetings, you’re trying to impress coaches and the vets. Kind of scary, but it’s exciting. A dream come true and definitely happy to be there.”

Cox says it is quite an adjustment moving up to the NFL level.

“I believe that the game is much faster,” Cox says. “Just the speed of the game, you have to play really fast. You’ve got to be on your toes and you’ve got to be mentally sound, kind of even more than physically. It is really, really mental at (this) level. You’ve got to pay attention and you’ve got to be on your toes.”

A native of California, Cox was a two-time, first-team All-CAA selection at Villanova and he says his time on the Main Line was special.

“My teammates and my coaches, they saw something in me,” Cox says. “They pushed me to be good. I wouldn’t be where I’m at if it wasn’t for them. With them behind me and my parents and friends and family just pushing me to be good and do the right thing and all that. Just happened to work out and I’m glad to be where I’m at right now.”

Cox was a four-year starter for Villanova, playing 48 games during a career which saw him accumulate 18 sacks and 33 1/2 tackles for loss. Throughout his time on the Main Line he proved to be a dynamic and versatile defensive playmaker for Andy Talley.

“Something I did well at Villanova was playing the run,” Cox says. “And also getting after the quarterback. In practice in the pros we’re working hand moves, we’re working counter moves, we’re working on timing up offensive linemen, we’re really working on it. Building up the repertoire even more. But I think, definitely, my pass rushing ability is something that’s going to definitely help me out.”

The Vikings report to training camp on July 24th.

You can follow Matt on Twitter @mattleonkyw.


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