James Cook-Georgia football-Michigan
Georgia running back James Cook (4) during the Bulldogs’ practice at Barry University in Miami, Fla., on Tuesday, Dec. 28, 2021. Georgia will take on Michigan on Dec. 31 in the Capital One Orange Bowl. (Photo by Steven Colquitt
Steve Colquitt

James Cook hopes Miami homecoming isn’t his final Georgia game: ‘I hope people remember me forever here’

The final game of Dalvin Cook’s college career was an Orange Bowl victory over Michigan. He ran for 145 yards and a touchdown in a 33-32 win for the Florida State Seminoles.

While his brother James is hoping for similar production, he’d like for his Georgia career to extend past the 2021 Orange Bowl against Michigan. That would mean a Georgia win and an appearance in the national championship game.

“I just kept my face clean and worked hard every day and be a good leader in the building,” Cook said. “I keep -- like my time at Georgia was great, and I’m not done yet, because I’m going to still have another game left. Yeah, it’s been a great journey here at Georgia, and I hope people remember me forever here.”

The game against Michigan will also be a homecoming of sorts, as Cook grew up in nearby Carol City. He played for Miami Central High School before signing as a member of Georgia’s 2018 signing class.

For the first time in his college career, he’ll be back playing in Miami.

“Just playing at the Hard Rock Stadium, it just gives me chills because I ain’t never really played in the Hard Rock Stadium,” Cook said. “So just playing in front of my family is going to be good, at home, and just like where I grew up.”

The Georgia running back will have a large contingent at Friday’s game, with many friends and family coming to watch him play. Cook though has let his mother handle those responsibilities, as he’s been focused on Michigan.

Cook has often been compared to his older brother, given Dalvin has been one of the best college and NFL running backs in recent memory. James has taken a different path at Georgia, but it’s one that has made him a revered member of the program.

“He’s been a great leader for us because he speaks, people listen,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said. He doesn’t speak very often, but when he gets up in front of the team, people know it comes from the heart, and the way he practices and the way he plays, they respect him. Sometimes less is more, and with James, that certainly is the case.”

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