YAZOO CITY, MS (WLBT) - As an all-pro with a contract worth $103 million, you might assume Fletcher Cox was always destined for success. He’s now celebrated in the halls of his alma mater, Yazoo City High School. But Cox, long ago, had less trouble with opposing offensive lineman than he did 8th grade math.
“We had double blocked those students that were struggling in math, and Fletcher was one of those who was double blocked,” says Deloris Scott, who taught Cox math at Yazoo City Middle School. “So he had to come to me twice for math. He hated it.”
“I always told him it did not matter how well you did on the field, if you’re not performing in the classroom this is not going to happen for you,” says Christy Cader, a guidance counselor at Yazoo City High School. “He finally started to believe me. And once he did and that light bulb came on, he did everything we asked.”
Cox went on to have a celebrated high school career before earning All-America honors at Mississippi State and becoming a first round draft pick in the NFL.
“It’s surprising that that same middle schooler that I was scolding because he wasn’t getting the math right is now worth $100 million,” says Scott.
Cox is now used as an example for every child walking the halls of his alma mater.
“Fletcher Cox went here, now he’s playing for the Philadelphia Eagles,” says Yazoo City High School principal Ike Haynes. “ You see that guy have success, if you do the right things, if you listen to us, if you find some motivation, you can be just like Fletcher Cox.”
The football stadium at Yazoo City is now called “Fletcher Cox Stadium”, and a street in town has been renamed “Fletcher Cox Way”.
Residents are also reminded of their hometown hero every time the Super Bowl Champion plays on NBC’s Sunday Night Football. While other players in the starting lineup announce which college they attended, Cox instead says “Yazoo City High School”.
“I still go to the TV because I know he’s going to say Yazoo City,” says Scott. “And my chest sticks out a little bit. That means a lot to us. Not many superstars make it to that level, not the level that he’s at. And we are super, super proud of him.”