ATHENS — Georgia football tailback James Cook continues to draw the sort of rave reviews rarely associated with incoming freshmen.
Not scared of anybody. Real smooth. Like Sony Michel, but faster.
Seeing was believing at the open scrimmage a couple of weeks ago, no matter how much Kirby Smart attempted to downplay it.
“If you just had that practice to go off of, yeah, he had a really good practice,” Smart said just over two weeks ago after Cook lived up to his 5-star billing with some dazzling dashes. “To say that he’s more ready than any of those other backs, that’s a long stretch because he has a long way to go.”
Apparently, “Little” Cook — as linebacker Monty Rice calls him — is coming along quickly.
“I like Cook a lot, he’s real fast,” junior running back Elijah Holyfield said, “and he plays with the type of intensity that he’s not scared of anybody, even though he’s kind of a small guy.”
Cook is listed as being 5-foot-11 and 190 pounds, one size smaller than his NFL brother, former Florida State standout and current Minnesota Vikings tailback Dalvin Cook, who is 6-0, 210.
Georgia sophomore D’Andre Swift, who played a role in the pass game last season that James Cook seems destined for in 2018, is a fan of the freshman’s running style.
“Cook is real unique, his style of play, I can’t compare him to nobody,” Swift said Tuesday. “The way he runs, it’s weird, but I like it. He’s real unique, he’s going to be a great player. It’s just his stride, it’s not like a one cut, it’s just real smooth, real smooth.”
No doubt, and the Georgia players’ eyes light up when they discuss James Cook.
“I’ve never played against a running back like Cook before, he has his own little style, and it’s very unique,” Rice said last week. “He’s very tough to cover … you can’t be looking at the quarterback when you cover him, or you’ll watch them complete the pass.
“Little Cook never stops running, he’s fast, I mean, just fast.”
“I would compare him to Sony Michel,” Georgia defensive end D’andre Walker said Tuesday, “but a little bit faster.”
A look at Cook’s highlights shows why he’s special: Acceleration, top-end speed, vision, fluid hips, footwork and forward lean.
Cook’s Georgia football teammates are indicating he has the heart and toughness to go with it, too.
There’s likely an unusual amount of humbleness and motivation added when one considers his older brother finished his career as Florida State’s all-time leading rusher.