James Cook will wear that script on a wristband when he takes the field on Friday night. The nation’s No. 3 RB prospect (247Sports Composite) will make his college choice at 8 p.m. tonight.
The big UGA target chose today because of what that “LLQ” means to him and his family.
Dalvin Cook, the well-known big brother in this narrative, also asked Nike to place “LLQ” on some gear for his first season with the Minnesota Vikings.
“LLQ” means Long Live Quan.
“Quan” was the nickname everyone had for Drequan Burnett.
He would have been 20 years old today.
That’s why the decision will be shared today. This forum gives the world another opportunity to know “Quan” and maybe also realize how much he meant to those who loved him.
It is also a day to show how much he still means to them.
“My nephew passed away a year-and-half ago,” Cook’s mother Varondria Burnett said. “So James wanted to do it today. It is kind of like a heavy hearts day today for my family. That was his cousin’s birthday.”
This will not be Cook’s day. It might be a fist-pumping day for the school that lands a lightning bolt for its backfield, but his immediate family will not see it that way.
“Quan would be turning 20 today,” his mother said. “They were all close. My family is real close. All of my kids are between 18 and 22. They all grew up together. All of them.”
A life lost far too soon
Varondria Burnett told Dawgnation she feels Florida State, Georgia, Louisville and USC are the contenders. But that all seems fickle in light of how her brother’s son passed.
It was a shooting.
“He got shot in a car,” Burnett said. “He was sitting in a car with his friends and I guess they were pulling up to another friend’s house. I guess a car just drove by and opened fire. I hear it was (meant) for the other guys in the car and he was just giving them a ride.”
“So that’s tough. That’s what happened.”
The family will release a video that shares his college choice. Then that will be it.
There will be no more visits and no more recruiting.
The family will spend this evening at a cemetery. They will also get together after that at her brother’s home to remember all the ripples Dreaquan made while he was alive.
“He was killed last year in June,” she said. “So last year was the first birthday without him. We just definitely try to remember his memory at all times.”
Cook, the all-time leading rusher in FSU football history, asked Nike for a design to help with that tribute. There have been shirts made in the past. That life will always be remembered by this family.
“We all do certain things,” Varondria Burnett said. “Just to make sure that his memory is always going to be alive and it never dies.”
Those kids all grew up together.
“He was around the same age as all my children,” she said. “So to see him die was so emotional for them. We’ve never had a shooting in our family. So to have that happen, it just devastated us. Especially the younger ones.”
The timing of the James Cook decision
Burnett said she had “no idea” this was coming today. When she went to bed last night, she thought that a commitment decision would take place sometime. It was likely in December.
There was a plan for a “commercial video” that would share his decision.
It was still a few first downs away. For her, that required summoning up her share of patience.
“I’ve been saying this to him for the longest,” she said. “I’ve been telling him that where ever he wanted to go he knows in his mind where he wants to go. Let’s just get it over with. Why are we procrastinating? Why are we doing this?”
Cook even crossed his own Mom up this morning.
“We were going to shoot the commercial and put it out there a little later,” Burnett said. “He just said that he was ready to announce it right now and because today was a special day.”
James told her: “Today is Quan’s birthday. Let’s just do it today and put it out tonight.”
Mom was all for it. She can tell that her James just wants to focus on school and the rest of his season at Miami Central.
He has taken just one official visit so far. That was to see UGA topple unbeaten Mississippi State on Sept. 23.
“James has been on a lot of unofficial visits,” his mother said. “A lot of unofficials. So I told him ‘in your heart right now at this point you know where your heart desires and you know where you want to go. You know where you see yourself and where you fit in and you know the relationships you have with these certain people. So you know’ and I’ve been telling him this. So I said ‘let’s just go ahead and make this official’ with no sense of dragging.”
The ceremony might just come when he signs those scholarship papers. That might still take place in December even though it is no longer a sure thing that Cook will enroll early.
Does she have a thought about tonight?
“I’m just going to be as neutral and guarded as my heart desires here,” Varondria Burnett said. “I am just going to tell everybody to wait. It is coming. Tonight. To be honest, I know where my heart is. It is basically only two schools and that is Florida State and Georgia. So we will see.”
But “LLQ” will never stray from anyone’s mind. Especially not on this day.
“We are going to go to the cemetery and then we are just all going to be together at my brother’s house and just, you know, celebrate his life,” she said. “He is going to honor ‘Quan’ on this day.”