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Saturday, December 14, 2013
Dalvin Cook shutting down recruitment

By Derek Tyson

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida running back commit Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central) has remained open in his recruitment, but the No. 20 player in the ESPN 300 is ready to shut down the process.

Cook, who rushed for 223 yards and four touchdowns in Central’s 52-7 win in the FHSAA Class 6A state championship game on Saturday afternoon, said the messages he continues to hear from coaches are all starting to sound the same.

"They have been recruiting me heavy these last two weeks,” Cook said. “I’m going to go ahead and shut my recruiting down until I announce my decision. You keep hearing the same thing from all the coaches. Sometimes you've got to recognize what’s real and what’s fake. That’s why I keep hearing the same thing, so I’m going to shut it down. I’m going to shut it down right now.”

Coaches from Texas, LSU, Florida State and Miami all visited Cook this past week. Florida head coach Will Muschamp was scheduled to do an in-home visit with Cook on Sunday, but it’s unclear if that visit will still take place.

Dalvin Cook
Dalvin Cook is scheduled to announce his college decision at the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2.
Though the Gators suffered through a 4-8 season, Cook said Florida’s performance on the field does not change how he feels toward the Gators. Florida fired its offensive coordinator, Brent Pease, following a season-ending loss to Florida State. Cook said he will be paying close attention to which coach replaces Pease.

"I know the type of player I am. I wasn’t even worried about the season they had because I know I could probably go fix it,” the Under Armour All-American said. "I’m just trying to get in an offense that fits me. I’m trying to go to an offense that is really balanced — that can run the ball and pass the ball. I’m trying to get ready for that next step. Who is going to groom me to get to that next step?

“They say they are trying to run an offense that Auburn ran a little bit this year. They are going to spread it out and pass it and run it. It’s going to matter a lot. I want an offensive coordinator that fits me and can relate to me and relate to my game plan."

Cook said Florida defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson has been understanding of his decision to continue to explore his options.

"Coach T-Rob, he can relate to me,” Cook said. "He done been through all of this, so he says he knows how it goes. When you open up your recruiting process, you hear a lot of things and your mind kind of gets confused. So he said he knows how it is.”

Cook is scheduled to make his final decision at halftime of the Under Armour All-America game on Jan. 2.

"I’m still committed to Florida,” Cook said. "I’m 100 percent until the Under Armour game.”

Though he said he remains committed to Florida, Cook has continued to show signs that Florida State and Miami are right at the top of his list along with the Gators. His friend and teammate, Joseph Yearby, is committed to Miami and the two have discussed playing together on the next level.

"That’s the closest friend I’ve ever had in my life,” Cook said. “I do everything for Joe now. We are going to the next level now and I’m going to have to make my decision to either play with him or not, but that’s my best friend.”

Cook, who admits he has already made up his mind about where he wants to go to college, also has a strong connection with former Central standout running back Devonta Freeman, who is now the starting running back for Florida State. Freeman will likely announce his decision whether to turn pro in the next month.

"He’s like a big brother to me and he tells me to go where my heart is — that’s it,” Cook said. “His decision won’t really affect my decision or not. It really doesn’t matter."