Todd McShay, ESPN’s NFL Draft analyst, had some nice words to say about James Cook after UGA’s win in the Orange Bowl.
McShay showered some praise on the senior running back, who is the younger brother of NFL star Dalvin Cook:
“(He’s) the most underrated RB in the 2022 draft class. He may never be the every-down starter for an NFL team, but he’s such a versatile weapon. Live his vision and twitch as a runner and he’s a legit receiving threat in the slot and out of the backfield.”
The Orange Bowl was a homecoming of sorts for Cook, who signed with UGA out of Miami. Cook had arguably the best performance of his career against Michigan, racking up 144 total yards and one touchdown on 10 touches.
“(Dalvin) talked to me, saying this is the last ride and go lay it on the line for my brothers,” Cook said after the game. “That’s what I did today in front of friends and family. … I just really wanted to give my team that edge and get that monkey off our back.”
Cook’s bowl highlight was a 53-yard catch when UGA took advantage of a mismatch after Michigan assigned a linebacker to cover the speedy running back on a pass play. Said quarterback Stetson Bennett: “He creates matchups that a lot of people can’t do. Are you going to play a DB on him, or are you going to put a linebacker on him? That’s a tough decision for a defensive coordinator to make.”
Although Cook could technically return to UGA next year because of the COVID waiver for the 2020 season, he has already accepted an invitation to the Senior Bowl, which is an all-star game for NFL prospects on Feb. 5.
The 5-foot-11, 190-pound Cook could boost his professional stock even more with a strong performance against Alabama in the national championship game.