Cox Committed to Colby After Vaulting Valley Football
The more grueling a game is, quite often the deeper the connections that are cultivated through the grind. The theorem is certainly bolstered when it comes to Nick Cox’s attitude towards the gridiron, as he will now continue with that deep club cohesion collegiately with the sport.
The Valley Regional Class of 2023 graduate first began playing football at the ripe, young age of seven. Nick (doubling as a receiver and running back on offense and then moving to safety defensively) finished his career with the Valley Regional-Old Lyme football team with 210 rushing yards and three touchdowns on 23 carries, 552 yards through the air receiving with 35 receptions for nine scores, plus 69 total tackles on defense.
He additionally wrapped up his senior season last fall by helping the Warriors reach the Class SS State Tournament final after a 9-1 regular season in 2022. The receiver/defensive back will now continue his gridiron stay by committing to play for Colby College as a safety.
“I really like the intensity of football, and because of the intensity, I became closer with my teammates through football than any other sport. I just love the physicality of the game and how intense it is,” says Nick, who also played lacrosse for Valley. “It will definitely be incredibly more difficult at the next level of the game in college with a lot more responsibilities. But my Valley coaches and teammates prepared me well for it. I am nervous but also excited for it.”
Nick certainly loves laying the licks on defense while leading the offensive charge to paydirt between the white lines. Those moments of enjoyment and ecstasy more than motivate him through taking on some of the top wideouts in the Pequot Conference.
“As a safety, I love hitting and making the big hits,” says Nick. “With safety, it can be tough with a lot of the responsibility you take on with trying to avoid getting beat deep by receivers. The best part of playing offense is scoring touchdowns for me; I just love doing it.”
Through both laying out and taking in punishment and pain, Nick has become a more mentally sound person through the peaks and valleys, bumps and bruises.
“Physically, I think I improved more as an athlete just through getting more reps and experience,” Nick says. “Football is such a tough game, so it strengthens you mentally, as well as physically. It is all about mindset with football. It can be draining and tough, but you have to stay focused and tough in order to be successful.”
Furthermore with his marvelous mentality, Nick denotes that when the chips are down and he may be nearing the bottom of his tank physically, he puts perspective on the matter by reminiscing about why he got into the game and sports in general.
“I just keep myself going,” says Nick. “I remember that the whole reason I do all of this is to have fun and enjoy myself. If you just try and have fun with the sport, you will play better.”
The early campaigns of his career with the Warriors may have lacked some flow and continuity, yet Nick and Valley more than made up for it at the tail end of it all with consistent victories and success that included a postseason push for the ages with capacity crowds that will never vanish from his memory bank.
“My time with Valley football was very wavy in the beginning with the COVID years, but I was very thankful to be with that program. The kids love the sport and the coaches are great,” Nick says. “The state semifinals last year was amazing; we had a massive crowd there. The win we had over Foran in the state quarterfinals was also a great experience for me with our fans.”
Moving to Colby, Nick will utilize his time for self-reflection and realization to find his footing occupationally beyond college. Still, throughout traversing that path, he will learn to express and endear himself even more effectively to his colleagues.
“I definitely want to set myself up well for the future and graduate and figure out what I want to do while I am at Colby,” says Nick. “I also want to learn to think and communicate things more effectively in college.”
Valley Regional-Old Lyme football Head Coach Hill Gbunblee praised Nick for his vast array of skills and intangibles that truly put him over the top across multiple terrains.
“You name it, Nick can do it,” Gbunblee says. “He was the ultimate competitor and a secret weapon. We were really lucky to have a player of his caliber on our team. He is a strong athlete in two sports with football and lacrosse. The speed, awareness, aggressiveness, and willingness to lay it all out there has paid off well for him.”
Nick will take away life lectures about interpersonal interactions and their great wealth in addition to persistence when prospects do not look favorable. He concludes that loving what you do can go a long way in parlaying the way to proficiency.
“I learned that obviously, the more time you spend with your teammates, the better both you and your team will be,” Nick says. “I also learned a lot about perseverance. When it gets tough, if you fold, then you cannot be successful, and that is why we had a great season last year. I also learned how to have success through having the attitude of just having fun.”