By Matt Zenitz
It wasn't long into a trek back from an official visit with Stony Brook's football team during the latter part of January that Adrian Coxson's mother, Altoviese Hogan, explained her affection for the Seawolves' program, something that had developed during the month leading to that point.
By that time, Coxson had developed similarly strong feelings, so much so that he informed the New York school's coaches of his intent to transfer there just days after the visit.
The former four-star wide receiver from Baltimore's City College High School had recently completed his redshirt season at Maryland. Shortly afterward, he, along with several teammates, decided to leave the program, following a tumultuous first season under coach Randy Edsall.
Coxson originally planned to transfer to another FBS school and was steadfast against transferring down to the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly Division I-AA) level. He said that stance had changed after he talked to the Seawolves' coaches, listened to their plans for their program and heard how he potentially factored into those plans.
Under coach Chuck Priore, Stony Brook finished this past season 9-4 and capped the year with its first FCS postseason appearance. The Long Island school beat Albany, 31-28, during the first round of the playoffs before falling to Sam Houston State, 34-27, during the second round.
"They're a program on the rise," Coxson said, "and I just wanted to come here and be a part of something special, and try to help them win a national championship."
Stony Brook offensive coordinator Jeff Behrman said he felt the addition of Coxson would help the Seawolves continue to move in that direction.
ESPN rated the multi-dimensional, 6-foot-2, 210-pound Coxson, who ran a 4.43 in the 40-yard dash during Maryland's spring testing last year, as one of the top 105 players in the recruiting class of 2010. The network ranked him as the nation's 16th-best wide receiver recruit.
He signed with Florida out of high school, but transferred to Maryland before his freshman season.
He sat out the 2010 season with the Terrapins because of NCAA transfer rules, but was expected to vie for a significant role in 2011, following the departure of first-team All-ACC wide receiver Torrey Smith.
That never happened.
Coxson injured his ankle during preseason practice, an injury that lingered into the regular season, and eventually finished the year with just four catches for 90 yards and a touchdown.
During the only game in which he received extended playing time, Coxson caught three passes for a team-high 78 yards and a touchdown during a 28-17 loss to Boston College.
Behrman said he envisioned Coxson having the chance to be a difference maker at Stony Brook.
"When you watch Adrian on film, he does a tremendous job getting vertical up the field and using his body to make catches on defensive backs," Behrman said. "He's also a precise route runner. We've been predominantly a run offense, but with him now, I'm sure we'll be throwing the ball a little bit more this year. We're very excited about having him in the program with us now."
Former Ravens wide receiver Mark Clayton, a friend from his time in Baltimore, said he also envisioned Coxson having the chance to be a difference maker within the Seawolves' offense.
"From what I've seen, Adrian's a very explosive player," Clayton said, "and in the right situation, I think he'll be able to dominate as a wide receiver and be a game-changer for that offense."
Coxson isn't the only big-name transfer Stony Brook landed this offseason. Former Iowa running back Marcus Coker, who ranked second in the Big 10 with 1,384 rushing yards and 15 touchdowns as a sophomore last year, also transferred to the Seawolves.
Even without Coker and Coxson, Stony Brook led the FCS in scoring offense (38 points per game) last season.
With Coker and Coxson on board, joining an offense that returns several key pieces from last year's team, Behrman said he thought Stony Brook would be more explosive this season and possibly make an even deeper run in the FCS playoffs than it did last year.
"Both of those guys will help tremendously," Behrman said, "and as a team, we're definitely happy we made the playoffs this year and won a game, but we're not satisfied. Our goal, like any other program, is to win a national championship, and our expectation is to continue to move forward and work towards that this year."
Issue 170: February 2012