Northern Illinois lineman Marques Cox transfers to Kentucky


Isabel McSwain

Kentucky Wildcats associate head coach Vince Marrow high fives fans during the Cat Walk before the No. 8 Kentucky vs. Northern Illinois football game on Saturday, Sept. 24, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Isabel McSwain | Staff

Parker Scott, Reporter

The “Big Blue Wall” was reinforced on Thursday when left tackle Marques Cox, a transfer from Northern Illinois, committed to Kentucky. 

Cox made the announcement on his Twitter and posed with UK associate head coach Vince Marrow and offensive line coach Zach Yenser.

Originally from Peoria, Illinois, Cox stands at six-foot-six and weighs 309 pounds, earning a three-star rating coming out of Peoria High School.

Cox started in 29-straight games for the Huskies entering the 2022 season before an injury against Kentucky in week four cut his season short.

NIU found success in the 2021 season with the help of Cox’s protection, finishing with a 9-5 record, a Mid-American Conference championship and only ten sacks allowed in fourteen games.

After Cox was injured in week four, the Huskies went on to finish 3-9, dead last in the MAC West and second to last in the whole conference, only ahead of Western Michigan (2-10).

Pro Football Focus lists that Cox allowed just three sacks in 1,052 passing plays.

Entering the 2023 season as a redshirt senior, Cox joins Alabama transfer Tanner Bowles in helping rebuild a Kentucky offensive line that struggled immensely this past season, with quarterback Will Levis being sacked a whopping 42 times in twelve regular season games.

Cox will be pivotal in, not just increasing the protection and rebuilding the offensive line, but helping to attract a transfer quarterback, with the Wildcats being tossed around as a potential landing spot for several big names in the portal with Levis off to the NFL Draft.

Cox joins developing talents Jager Burton and Kiyaunta Goodwin, along with the aforementioned Bowles and veteran Kenneth Horsey as potential candidates to make up the starting offensive line.