Mike Cox took advantage of a little-known NCAA rule that allows graduate students to transfer and be immediately eligible.
Cox spent three seasons as a backup running back and special teams performer at the University of Michigan from 2009-2011, where he earned a bachelor's degree in general studies.
In 2012, he transferred to the University of Massachusetts to pursue a graduate degree in education and earned a starting job in the Massachusetts' backfield in the process. Cox rushed for 710 yards and five touchdowns last season and is looking to parlay that into a NFL career.
"The most important year I had in college," Cox told detroitlions.com of his senior season while on a pre-draft visit with the Lions on Tuesday. "It was really important having a full year at starting running back and getting the experience that I’ve been wanting to get my whole college career."
At Michigan, Cox had 19 career carries in 2009 and 2010, gaining 169 yards and scoring two touchdowns -- both against Delaware State.
The six-foot, 220-pound Cox describes his running style as "downhill" and "one-cut."
He wasn’t invited to the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis in February, which he says has put a bit of a chip on his shoulder.
Instead, Cox participated in regional combines in both Dallas and New York. Those workouts were impressive enough to earn a pre-draft visit with the Lions and he'll be headed to Seattle and the New York Giants next.
The Lions could still use running back help behind
Cox is considered a late-round prospect or potential priority free agent by most drafts websites.