When it comes to football, most people want to be a quarterback, running back, wide receiver or even a big defensive player. Many do not ever think about one of the most important players on the team — the kicker.
Caden Cox is the first-ever individual with Down syndrome to play college football and score a point in college, kicking his way into the history books. Cox, 22, graduated from Hocking College in December, but not before making his mark in many different ways.
“It’s awesome to feel included,” stated Cox referring to his team.
Cox was at football practice at Fremont Ross High School in northern Ohio, practicing his kicking skills during high school. At the time, Cox had never played the game of football.
Caden’s father, Kevin, heard the head coach say, “You know what? Put Caden in to let him kick in the JV game.”
The fathers reaction was, “What!?”
Cox then went on to get cleared with a sports physical and became the starting junior varsity kicker for the football team.
In Cox’s high school and college career, he never missed an extra point attempt.
“There was one game he actually kicked seven for seven, so their team won 49-0. So I said you basically scored a touchdown with your kicks,” stated Cox’s Mother, Mari.
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His longest field goal is 35 yards. Cox’s football career was inspired by his big brother, Zane, a kicker and punter in college.
Cox currently lives in Nelsonville with his mother, Mari, and father, Kevin. His dream is to one day be able to move to Los Angeles.
Cox’s accomplishments have received a lot of attention and love the past couple years. He even got the opportunity to meet the Ohio State football team, along with head coach Ryan Day, with ESPN featuring him on live television.
Cox is a bright young man, excelling in and out of the classroom. In college, he finished with a 3.72 grade point average. Cox is loved all over the world on social media and in school. Currently, he has around 325,000 followers on TikTok. He was crowned Homecoming King both in high school and in college for the annual homecoming football games to kickoff the Homecoming activities, including the dances.
“I don’t think Caden knows how much he has accomplished,” Mari said.
Cox not only did football for a sport. In high school, he did shot put and discus for track and field. He swam at Ohio State University and became a gold medalist. He also became a black belt in Taekwondo. The National Junior College Athletic Association Foundation awarded Cox the Champion award in North Carolina. In addition, he has four NIL contracts.
Cox loves to be a performer and spokesperson. He was inducted into the International Thespian Society for drama and acting. He has been given the opportunity to speak in West Virginia, Virginia, and Michigan for the Down Syndrome Association. Cox was also granted the opportunity to speak at the Special Olympics Unified Champion Schools in Ohio, and he received the Youth of the Year award in Virginia because of his leadership.
Want to find Cox’s socials? He is most popular on TikTok and Instagram. His username for both platforms is “kickinitwithcaden.”
“Using your abilities to show possAbilities” is Cox’s motto that he stands by every day.
Cade Stoneman is a student journalist with Tri-County Career Center and High School’s New Media+ program. This article originally appeared on The 360, a publication of the New Media+ program at Tri-County Career Center.
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