Georgia will be without running back James Cook in the upcoming game against Cincinnati following the unexpected death of his father, also named James Cook.
Georgia coach Kirby Smart confirmed the news on Wednesday afternoon in an interview with Cody Chaffins of Fox 5.
“He found out I guess yesterday morning and he immediately got a flight home,” Smart told Chaffins in a video posted on Twitter. “Just really unfortunate. James is such a charismatic and loving teammate. He loves all of his teammates. Really close to his family and really tough situation to be dealing with the loss of his father at this time.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with him. We support him 100 percent and we have his back. We just want him to be with his family and do the best he can to deal with this at this time.”
BREAKING: Kirby Smart confirms that James Cook has gone home to be with his family after his father passed. He will miss the @CFAPeachBowl on Friday "We support him 100% and all his teammates have his back" #UGA pic.twitter.com/LCsNwUHAje
— Cody Chaffins (@Cody_Fox5) December 30, 2020
Cook’s older brother Dalvin will also not be playing for the Minnesota Vikings this weekend, as he flew home to be with his family. The elder James Cook was just 46 years old.
James Cook for Georgia had a successful junior season for the Bulldogs, as he ran for 303 yards on 45 carries while also catching 16 passes for 225 yards. He scored five total touchdowns for Georgia this year in just eight games.
Without Cook, Georgia will turn to Zamir White, Kenny McIntosh, Kendall Milton and Daijun Edwards. White led the team in rushing this season with 740 yards. Milton has been out since the Florida game due to a knee injury but he is expected to be available to play against Cincinnati.
Cook signed with Georgia as a 4-star running back as a member of the 2018 signing class out of Miami. He does have the ability to declare for the upcoming NFL draft, though it is unknown what his intentions are at this point in time regarding that decision.
Some of Cook’s teammates public support for Cook and his family following the news.
Prayers up for Cook and his family! 🙏🏾 #ripshotime
— Monty Rice (@RiceMonty) December 30, 2020
Sending condolences to the Cook family. 🙏🏽
— Jalen Carter (@breadmanjalen) December 30, 2020
Georgia and Cincinnati are set to play at 12 p.m. in Atlanta on Friday. The game can be seen on ESPN.
More Georgia football stories from around DawgNation
- Georgia makes it clear it’s focused on Cincinnati and will do so in black jerseys
- Brock Vandagriff: A very positive timetable now yields encouraging news for his torn PCL
- Former Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith, Leonard Floyd have dominant showings in Week 16
- 5 questions with Cincinnati beat writer leading into Georgia Peach Bowl matchup
- Todd Monken shares his favorite quality about incoming quarterback Brock Vandagriff
- WATCH: Georgia 5-star signee Brock Vandagriff breaks down his team’s big semifinal win
- ‘He’s done an unbelievable job’: Zamir White focused on Cincinnati ahead of NFL decision
- Peach Bowl against Cincinnati a chance to show what Georgia defense might look like in 2021
- Cincinnati aiming for ‘fun,’ historic win over Georgia in Peach Bowl