Chad Hetlet minces no words when it comes to Tyquan Cox.
Cox, Glenbard West’s electric senior running back, is hard to miss on the field, but his coach believes that a few are missing the boat on him.
“I think he is the most underrated kid in the state, I really do,” Hetlet said. “How he is not on the list of the best running backs in the state is beyond me. He is the complete package. We’ve had a lot of marquee players, but Tyquan when he turns the corner is as explosive as anybody in the state.”
He’ll be a marquee attraction this fall.
Cox, coupled with seven starters returning on defense, are two big reasons why Glenbard West is poised for yet another big year.
Cox was one of three Hilltoppers running backs who broke 1,000 yards last season, and he also rushed for 11 touchdowns.
He’s bigger and stronger now, and of course lightning fast on the edge.
A track state qualifier every year of high school, Cox ran a 4.38 40-yard dash at North Central College.
“The thing about it is he’s not a sprinter that plays football, he’s a football player that runs track,” Hetlet said. “He has a ton of potential, so explosive on the edge. I see him in a lot of roles. I’d put him up against anybody in the state at defensive back. He can cover anybody. He’s just a super freakish athlete.”
Cox hardly rested on a big junior year. He went straight to track and did the three-a-days and lifting with his teammates at the Winona State summer camp. He did travel 7-on-7 with the Midwest BOOM.
Cox has an offer from Minnesota State, but his dream school is Western Michigan. He doesn’t mind flying under the radar.
“I just got to play with a chip on my shoulder,” Cox said. “When the state sees the kind of explosiveness I have they’ll change that list.”
He’s far from his team’s only playmaker. Ethan Graff, a 6-foot-5 receiver, is one to watch, Kameron Bedford and Joey Richmond complement Cox as inside runners, and Hetlet projects a big season from quarterback Tommy Bleker.
The biggest room for growth, though, could be on the other side of the ball.
Marky Winters is a three-year starter on the defensive line, and senior linebackers Jayden Rodgers, Otis Nevins and Kyle Dell all return.
Defensive back Greyson Metz, linebacker Sean Michel and defensive lineman Dave Lanciloti are all juniors who started as sophomores.
“It allows us to do different things, doesn’t make us as predictable as we were a year ago,” Hetlet said. “Until that first game, you don’t know, I don’t have any idea how they’ll compete. I have confidence that they’ll be prepared.”
Hetlet will indeed find out more about his team fast.
Glenbard West travels to Park Ridge on Aug. 24 to play Maine South, a team that shredded the defense 63-24 in last year’s opener.
“We know the task at hand. They’re probably the best public school program in Illinois,” Hetlet said. “Last year we were super young, and we became younger after that game. We played poorly. I hope that we remedied that and are ready to go.”
Cox certainly sounds ready.
“I’ve been thinking about that game ever since the season ended last year,” Cox said. “I want to get revenge on these kids. We’re a team capable of beating them if we execute and do what we do.”
GLENBARD WEST HILLTOPPERS
Coach: Chad Hetlet
2017 record: 9-2
Tommy Bleker sr. QB
Tyquan Cox sr. RB
Kyle Dell sr. LB
Ethan Graff sr. WR
Hank Knez sr. OL
Jayden Rodgers sr. LB
Otis Nevins sr. LB
Marky Winters sr. DL
Aug. 24 at Maine South, 7 p.m.
Aug. 31 at Proviso East, 6 p.m.
Sept. 8 Addison Trail 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 14 at York, 7:30 p.m.
Sept. 22 Downers Grove North, 1:30 p.m.
Sept. 29 Lyons Township, 1:30 p.m
Oct. 5 at Hinsdale Central, 7:30 p.m.
Oct. 13 Oak Park-River Forest, 1:30 p.m.
Oct. 19 at Proviso West, 7:30 p.m.