Signed: In 2008 from Dallas Samuell High School
Key Stat: 506. The number of total yards that Cook racked up last season serving as a kick returning. His averaged was a respectable 19.5 yards on 26 returns last season. Playing in primarily a back-up role, Cook had 11 tackles on the year.
Why he will start: Coverage skills. Hold on a second, I’m not talking one-on-one here because Cook is a safety now. It has been said by several coaches that Cook covers more ground in the secondary than any other player. Last season he played a lot of cornerback but his natural position in high school was that of a safety. As for his cover skills, he’s got those too. He is a big, rangy player with a lot of speed who can get across the field better than anyone in the secondary.
Why he won’t start: This is becoming a mantra right now with a lot of defensive positions right now but Cook is learning a new position. Sort of. He’s learning an old position that he hasn’t played in a few years but in the spring he didn’t look like the learning curve will be tough. The secondary has been shifted around a lot so Cook is going to have some competition but he goes into the fall as the favorite.
Overall: Cook moves into the safety spot vacated by Kylie Hill who moved down to the linebacker spot. He’s more comfortable at the safety position and gives Gary DeLoach the change to get the most talent on the field at once (see Kylie Hill preview). Cook did a lot of special teams work last season and Coach Dodge has give new special teams coach Shelton Gandy his blessing to play the most talented players on that unit, regardless of position or if they are or are not a starter. Translation, No. 10 is going to be on the field a lot this year.