Cook has his mind made up

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Cook plans to make a final decision next month despite being committed to Florida. (Photo by Zach Abolverdi/The Gainesville Sun)

ORLANDO — Dalvin Cook was the center of attention in more ways than one at Saturday’s Class 6A state title game.

The Miami Central running back led his team to a 52-7 victory over Seffner Armwood, giving the Rockets their second straight championship and third in four years.

Cook rushed for 223 yards and four scores on 19 carries, including an impressive 80-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter.

After the game, he was surrounded by more than two dozen media members and pressed about his recruitment, which has heated up this month due to the contact period.

He responded to every reporter with his usual cool, calm and collected demeanor, but walked away from the interview leaving more questions than answers.

“I’m very excited,” Cook said when asked how he feels about enrolling early at Florida.

“I know the type of player I am. I’m going to work hard for what I want, and I’m going to go and change the program.”

Then things got interesting.

When asked where things stand with his pledge to UF, Cook responded, “I’m committed to Florida. I’m 100 percent until the Under Armour game.”

That’s when he plans to reveal his final decision, which Cook said he made last week.

“In my mind, I know where I’m going,” he said. “Nobody knows but me. I’m going to do it halftime of the Under Armour game and I’m going to put my hat on.”

If Cook is 100 percent committed to Florida and already has his mind made up, doesn’t that mean he’ll announce for the Gators on Jan. 2?

“You never know,” he said.

What Cook does know is that after two weeks of coaches coming by his school and house, he has figured out which staff he wants to play for.

“Once you keep hearing the same thing from all the coaches, sometimes you’ve got to recognize what’s real and what’s fake,” Cook said. “That’s why I’m going to shut it down. It’s shut down today.”

“The coaches I felt the most comfortable around, they came in, kept it real with me. I just felt comfortable with those coaches.”

UF assistant Travaris Robinson is Cook’s primary recruiter and doesn’t appear to be one of the coaches he considers fake.

“Coach T-Rob, he can relate to me,” Cook said. “He’s been through all this, so he knows how it goes. When you open your recruiting process you can hear a lot of things, and your mind kind of gets confused. He said he knows how it is.”

Cook claims he didn’t get turned off by Florida’s 4-8 record in 2013.

“I know the type of player I am, and I wasn’t even worried about the season they had because I know I can probably go fix it,” he said. “I’m just trying to get in the offense that fits me.”

Who UF hires as its next offensive coordinator could make or break Cook’s commitment to the Gators.

“It’s going to matter a lot, because I want an offensive coordinator that really fits me and can relate to my game,” he said. “I’m trying to go to an offense that’s really balanced, that can run the ball and pass the ball. I’m trying to get ready for that next step and who’s going to groom me into that next step.”

The Florida coaches have given Cook an idea of what they plan to run next season.

“They said they’re trying to run the offense that Auburn ran a little bit this year,” he said. “They’re going to spread it out, and they’re going to pass it and run it.”

Does that appeal to Cook?

“Yeah, it does,” he said.

The 5-foot-11, 195-pounder has signed financial aid agreements with Florida, Florida State and Miami. His coach, Roland Smith, said his star player has leaned toward each school at one point in time.

“It’s different schools different days,” Smith said. “He’ll pick the right one in the end. I really believe that. He has a lot of coaches on edge right now, but it’s a tough decision.

“One thing he doesn’t want to do is hurt anybody’s feelings. But these coaches have been told no before, so you have to do what’s best for you.”

Smith feels Brent Pease’s replacement will determine whether or not Cook sticks with UF.

“He will have to feel comfortable with the new OC they bring in, and he has to see if it’s the right fit for him,” Smith said. “At first it was. He’s still committed, but we’ll see.”

37 COMMENTS

  1. This story makes me feel better about our chances. If there’s one thing that’s been a consistent with this coaching staff it’s that the recruits always say they think the coaches are more real and honest than anyone else. If that’s a factor in his decision like he made it sound then florida stands a great chance.

  2. sounds like he is waiting to see what the new OC do and if he fits because iy his recruitment is shutdown and he knows where he is going why dont he just say. Muschamp has an in home visit tomorrow and will seal the deal.

  3. Sounds good for UF id say. Just wants the spotlight on him at the UA game. Idk how he is gonna know who the OC is unless he is already hired and Muschamp can tell him. Said they wouldnt announce until after bowl game . Says he “shut down” recruitment, wasnt muschamp supposed to visit tomorrow?

  4. I’ve been saying for a while that it’s all about who Muschamp hires as OC. What I heard from Cook confirms it. He’s hedging his bets until the OC is named, and who can blame him? I wouldn’t be surprised if Cook doesn’t already know who’s on Muschamp’s short list for OC candidates….

  5. Sea hag… I kinda agree with u.. I mean I may quit following the recruiting season forever & just wait til Feb to c who the new Gators r! This crazy stuff these pre-madonna’s do now-a-days is just plain ridiculous, these guys need so much attention from everyone! Put the pacifier back in their mouth & lets all take a nap til February!

  6. Not a chance he stays with the Gators. He will be at FSU for sure. The Gators may not have an OC by then. Ermon Lane will flip too. Sorry to say it but 4-8 is going to kill recruiting for a while. Muschamp will probably get fired next year and it will cause turmoil with that class too.

  7. Dalvin said he is shutting it down no visits.So does Champ have that Sunday visit?
    And,if he shut it down how would the o.c. even matter?
    Regardless he has my attention and just like Mike Davis,i’ll still follow and root for him wherever he chooses.
    Go Gators

  8. I appreciate the update and admit I follow recruiting closely…But the twitter, the hats, facebook, whatever is really getting old….I won’t believe Cook and lane until the first Wednesday in February, when the drama will be over….Sounds like he is committed to be committed in January, blah, blah, blah,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,!

  9. How did we get to the point where we have to beg a recruit.This is Gator Nation.We was always the team to pull top recruits out of other states,now you tell me we can’t even pull our own.It’s bad enough you let Georgia(rival) get the #1 back out the state of Florida Sony Michael.You mean to tell me we sitting here begging for the service of Dalvin.Someone please wake me up when this dream is over.For as long as I can remember,we could’ve slip on a banana peel and land a top 5 recruiting class.A month and a half left to signing day we barely a top 10 class.Scout has us last i check #17.FOR REAL!!!!!!!!!!Can’t put my finger on it but something not right.

  10. I have to agree with sea hag and Harold. He is starting to sound like a typical attention seeking player, who’s probably not even going to crack our top 3 depth chart unless he’s Emmitt Smith re-incarnate, except that Emmitt was bigger.

    As for the 4-8 record deterring recruits, if that were the case, then Bama, FSU, and others would never have come back from their lean years. The team won 11 games the year before, so just because your team has it’s first losing season in 34 years…..which is probably longer than some people who comment on here have been alive, doesn’t mean the ship is sinking and there’s no coming back.

  11. With a lot of these types of recruits it is all about what teams are trending both on and off the field. It is all about the “swag” factor. All the media attention and talk that teams get when they are having good years really gets in these kids heads and makes them think that if they attend these schools that they will experience the same success but that may not be the case. I think Dalvin is a smart guy and wants to make the best decision but it doesn’t seem to me that he is a Gator. Why say you are 100% but still entertain other schools? Why need to make an announcement? Could be for attention but it looks like he wont be in this class. If the new OC is make or break and will play a huge role in whether or not he stays then how does he know where he is going in his mind when UF hasnt made a hire yet? To me it looks like he will go to FSU and I wouldnt be surprised if Lane went as well. FSU went undefeated this year (weak schedule) and are going to the National Title game with a heisman winning freshmen QB. What is there to not be attracted to? You can even rape people and get away with it in Tally (had to throw that in). Bottom line is that Cook flipped to us from Clemson and it wont be surprising if he flips again.

  12. This whole thing wreaks of last second decision changes. To me it sounds more like he is down to 2 schools. which judging from this and previous articles should be UF and “the U”. To me it sounds like he is committed to Florida unless Muschamp just hires a dud at OC. So yeah no added pressure Will. Also Cook dropped a hint at what the new offense will look like (that is unless Muschamp is bluffing the whole new offense crap).

  13. I can’t wait to see this kid play at the next level. He runs hard and has incredible vision when he hits the second level.

    Plus he’s a great kick returner, something the Gators haven’t had since the Urban Liar era.

    I think the “ewe” is out.

    Where ever he plays I’ll be hoping he’s successful. He’s a smart dude who works hard at being good. Hopefully he decides to continue that with the Gators.

  14. I like his enthusiasm when he says he can “probably go fix it” but to be honest, the running back position was one of our strongest units last year. Kelvin and Mack both ran the ball effectively behind a very poor offensive line this year. Kelvin and Dalvin in the the backfield together would be equally potent, ranking up there with recent RB duos that we’ve seen at Bama, but we need the O-Line to get A LOT better for they can start dominating defenses. No doubt, those two together behind a good line would be special.

  15. It would be nice if it was just enthusiasm about the “fix it” comment, but unfortunately I agree with GaGator. He flipped once, and he probably wouldn’t have a problem flipping again. I think we’re extremely deep in the backfield, with 3 good backs with a lot of reps on the field. If Cook does come here, then I’m sure he has a true swagger that may not be all that bad, but I also wouldn’t be surprised to see him get stuck on the depth chart and transfer w/n a year.

    I don’t even think the O-coordinator will be the difference. Whomever takes over coaching the o-line will be the key to next year.

  16. I think the gators will be the surprise team next year and will win lots of games. I think Muschamp has finally realized that his offense doesn’t work and I believe he will be smart enough to leave the offense alone and spend more time on defense and by doing so the defense will be great and the offense will score points. Only if he keeps his lil pea brain out of the offense lol.

  17. Im glad to hear some other fans feel the way I do about Cook. I think its about time fans start to see the character flaws in some of these players during the recruiting process and recognizing what some people have been seeing for years which is talent often does not overcome a poor attitude or a sense of entitlement.

  18. Lane isn’t going anywhere, but Gainesville. On CooK; I read where Muschamp will not make an in home visit, because T- Rob is his Dalvin’s main man and he has already been there and done that, so they don’t think it is necessary. I take that as a very good sign with this kid, but after following recruiting closely for over 50 years one thing I have learned is you never for sure until they sign on the dotted line. Part of the drama does have to do with Cook making sure he clicks with the new OC and the rest is him playing the recruiting game a little to create some suspense leading up to his Under Armor announcement.

  19. I can’t fault him if he’s waiting on the new OC. It shows he’s concerned about his future and no one can blame him for that. Problem is, it isn’t the OC that’s the problem here at UF, it’s the HBC.

  20. Zach,

    I know you were just reporting the news, but what’s your personal take on his statements? Body language tell a lot and you saw him first hand. What’s your personal opinion on what’s to come with Cook’s decision? Is he coming aboard or what? We need him badly b/c there’s no telling what Matt’s knee is looking like for the long haul.

  21. I think he is going to be a Gator because he already knows who the offensive coordinator is going to be. I think it is about time that Gator fans get behind Muschamp and support him and the team that lies ahead next here and in the future!! Better days are coming!!

  22. @ Gator Todd, I agree with your last post whole heartedly. I think the kid is using his head or someone is giving him some good advise. Champ have not proved that this is a stable environment and it appears from the outside that this is a PROGRAM that is on a downward spiral. I know all of the “GURU’s” will jump all over this comment but I think he is doing the right thing to wait and see who takes over. I would advise my son to wait, this may tell what type of program FLORIDA will be for the next three to four years, moving up or falling further. JusT MY OPINION! GO GATORS!!!!

  23. Think about it – if you were Dalvin Cook, and you had all this attention on you wouldn’t you have some fun with it? At first, I was a little irritated by his flippancy, but then I realized that Cook is just having fun and enjoying the process. Most of us would probably do the same thing given the chance. Go Gators!

  24. @islander – Unless Muschamp has already hired Clay Helton {or someone else} who is coaching a bowl game, which is a distinct possibility. I think WM is waiting to make an official announcement until after the new OC’s bowl game. I think it will be Helton, which means UF could announce a new OC by Saturday night / Sunday morning.