You would be hard pressed to find a more popular and more versatile football player on the Michigan State football team than newly minted captain Demetrious DAY-DAY Cox. The youngster has personality, humility, work ethic, and talent.

He is not only a great player, but a terrific young man. The son of Dorsey Cox and Rochelle Tillman is the pride of Jeannette, Pennsylvania, and already has one bachelor’s degree in hand, while pursuing another one right now. On and off the field, he is exactly what you want in a student athlete.

That is why it shocked no one to see him named a captain this week and he talked about his evolution since arriving in East Lansing. “My evolution as a leader came with being consistent every day. A lot of days, guys come through and go through the motions. About a year ago, I made it my personal goal to every day come out and come with passion. If guys are down, get guys up. Dance on the field, get guys excited to be here and love to play the game.”

It was Cox who commented early on about QB Tyler O’Connor’s leadership skills and has been a fan of the Spartan’s strong armed signal caller from day one. I asked him what he saw in O’Connor that had him believing so early.

“All year, everybody asked, ‘Who do you think is going to be the next quarterback?’ I immediately thought, a leadership role, every workout, everything we do, if something needed to be voiced, it was one of us three. That is why I felt like Tyler was going to step up and hold himself accountable.”

So for a young man like Cox who is lauded as humble, I had to ask what being named a captain meant to him. He was warm and reflective. “It is surreal. It is a blessing. It is such a blessing. I feel honored that they have that much faith in me. I have faith in myself, I always have. I just feel like from the past couple of years, being vocal and picking people up around me has been my goal and that is where it has come from.”

In the Michigan State defensive mantra, they call on defensive backs to not only play tight coverage on an island (with very little help), but to also be tough coming up and stopping the run. So what is it about the Spartan DB position that is so critical at MSU from a leader’s role?

Cox’s answer was very revealing. “I personally think it is because we have the ability to make plays and make a big, big influence on the defense. Not even just the defense, but the special teams and everything. That is something that you have to be held accountable every day consistently. Me being a fifth-year senior and knowing a lot of positions, that has helped a lot. That has helped a lot of our captains that were in secondary in the past.”

So for Cox, who is not only a graduated senior but a fifth year player, does he feel old looking back at how fast his time has come since arriving at MSU and how much he has grown as a man?

“It was an evolution because going through adversity, learning from mistakes, learning from past leaders’ mistakes, my mistakes, and getting through those mistakes and making the next leap in my career without looking back and taking a step back. I really think being a positive vibe for the team is really important for me.”

I was taught by my father that everything in every part of life rises and falls based on leadership. I agree with my father. Apparently, the Spartans agree with my father also. That is why the Spartans are picking young men like Cox for the captain role.

Cox is a great player. He is a super student and more importantly a terrific young man. The Spartans are fortunate to have him as a captain for the 2016 season.