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Football: COX INVITED TO MAGNOLIA GRID IRON CLASSIC

LAFAYETTE- The University of Louisiana at Lafayette announced on Wednesday that offensive tackle Brandon Cox has accepted an invitation to the second annual Magnolia Grid Iron Classic.  Cox becomes the fifth Cajun to accept a post-season bowl invitation under head coach Rickey Bustle.  Former Cajuns/current NFL’ers C.C. Brown (Houston Texans), Charles Tillman (Chicago Bears) and Ivan Taylor (Pittsburgh Steelers) all played in the Hula Bowl, while Bill Sampy (Philadelphia Eagles) played in the Inaugural Grid Iron Classic last season.

The Irving, Texas native has started every game in his career, currently 44 consecutive games on the offensive line.  Starts in both of the Cajuns final two games would establish a new Cajuns career record for both career starts and consecutive starts.

 "I’m very proud of Brandon that he gets the chance to play in an all-star game," said Bustle.  "He is following in the footsteps of some very good Cajuns that have played in post-season bowl games.

"He has what it takes to play at the next level and the (NFL) scouts have shown an interest."

Following their appearances in the Hula Bowl, Brown was taken by Texans in sixth round of the 2005 NFL draft, Tillman was selected in the 2003 NFL draft by the Bears with the third pick of the second round, while Taylor went to the Steelers in the fourth round of the ’03 Draft.

After catching a 41-yard touchdown pass in the ’05 Gridiron Classic, Sampy signed as a free agent with Philadelphia immediately following the 2006 NFL Draft.

The 2006 MGIC will be played on December 23 in Jackson, Mississippi at Veterans Memorial Stadium.  Kickoff is scheduled for noon.  The game is designed for Division I college football players that have the potential to play in the NFL, but whose team was not invited to a bowl or playoff game.

The game will pit I-A players against I-AA foes.  Former Mississippi State head coach Jackie Sherrill has been named honorary coach of the I-A squad, while former Jackson State head coach W.C. Gorden was announced as the honorary coach of the I-AA squad.

In future years, the MGIC will be played on Christmas Eve, but due to Christmas Eve falling on a Sunday in 2006, the game was moved up a day to Saturday.  More information can be found at www.magnoliagridironclassic.com.