James Cook rates as the nation’s No. 3 running back on the 247Sports composite.
That distinction carries a 4-star rating, but other recruiting services list him as a 5-star recruit. Cook also sits as the No. 31 overall player for 2018 on the 247Sports composite ranking. He signed with Georgia on Wednesday.
If the Florida native has himself a typical James Cook week at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in Texas, he could see that ranking creep north by just a few slots. That would make him another one of Georgia’s 5-star signees for the Class of 2018.
He took a last-minute official visit over the weekend to Florida State, which has strong ties to his family. His mother told DawgNation the trip was made as a gesture of respect to Cook’s former high school coach.
I will be officially signing Wednesday December 20 at 10:00 am at Northwestern HS
— James Cook (@thegreat__4) December 19, 2017
There are probably three or four essential things to know about the speedy back.
- Cook reclassified to the Class of 2018. He once was a top 2019 prospect.
- Cook is a standout talent and the younger brother of Florida State all-time great Dalvin Cook. Dalvin rewrote the Seminoles’ all-time rushing records during his three years there. He was a second-round pick of the Minnesota Vikings in the 2017 NFL Draft.
- He has no issues sharing the backfield with Zamir White at Georgia. The duo will follow other formidable pairings of Todd Gurley and Keith Marshall, and Nick Chubb and Sony Michel.
- Georgia running backs coach Dell McGee was a huge factor in the chase for James Cook. He was at one time committed to Florida State, but McGee pursued him for over a year. Cook clearly was thinking about Georgia prior to his de-commitment from Florida State on July 4.
- His mother, Varondria Burnett, is an impressive quote and seems to have a way with words: She described her son’s official visit to UGA on Sept. 23 as “bananas.”
Cook played at Miami Central for one of the strongest programs in the South, but he transferred to nearby Northwestern to finish his high school classes.
That’s interesting. Rachad Wildgoose, a 3-star UGA commit, is also at Northwestern. So is 4-star cornerback target Divaad Wilson, who committed to Georgia on Wednesday. Cook will not enroll early, but Wilson will.
Wilson is the nation’s No. 31 cornerback prospect, according to the 247Sports composite, and also a one-time Florida commit.
That’s a neat little parallel but there’s still more to share about Cook, who will have DawgNation boasting that their school still deserves the nickname “Tailback U.” going forward.
The need to know about 4-star RB James Cook
Weight: 185 pounds
Rating: 4-star (but he’s a 5-star on Rivals.com)
247Sports Composite Rankings: Nation’s No. 3 running back; nation’s No. 31 overall player
Committed since: Oct. 23, 2017
Why that date: Cook committed that day to honor his cousin, who was killed in a drive-by shooting. Oct. 23 was his cousin’s birthday.
Team also in the running: Florida State
High school honors: Cook was chosen over the summer to compete at Nike’s elite The Opening prospect showcase at the company’s world headquarters in Oregon. He is also a U.S. Army All-American.
Bet you didn’t know: Dalvin Cook never pegged his younger brother to follow his path at Florida State. He always believed James would go his own way.
One good quick story: This is one his mother can laugh about now:
“James was a breech birth,” his mother said. “He was coming out feet first and he was kicking me so bad. When I went to the doctor that week, they told me, ‘Wow, he’s going to come out feet first.’ I wasn’t going to have him until the following week but he was kicking me so bad and I was in so much pain.”
That was the tricky part. The doctors couldn’t turn him around.
“If he would have tried to come out, they said it was a possibility of the umbilical cord getting wrapped around so I had to go into an emergency C-section,” she said.
It was a trying time then. It would be for any parent.
But the nation’s No. 3 RB with the pistons pumping for legs was going to want to come out feet first. Naturally.
“That’s exactly as it should be,” she says now. “That is funny.”
Interesting: Georgia’s coaches presented him with a birthday cake on his official visit. They even sang Happy Birthday to him. Cook didn’t know the coaches knew about his birthday; his mother set it up. The 18-year old was mortified. Like anyone at that age would be.
One more thing: Cook, if he wanted to play there, would be a terrific defensive back. He made play after play and held up with distinction when pressed into that duty during his senior season. There will be a lot of senior-season pick-6s on his final highlight tape.