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Spartans' Connor Cook defends record during predraft pro day

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Connor Cook explains why people have questions about him (1:41)

Former Michigan State QB Connor Cook addresses questions about his leadership and why he wasn't named captain at his pro day. (1:41)

EAST LANSING, Mich. -- Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook has heard all the questions. He doesn't pay attention to the people who say there are character concerns with him entering the NFL draft, but he also thinks he knows why the question is there.

Simply, it's because he wasn't named a captain his final year at Michigan State.

"When you have a quarterback that's that successful and a team that's that good and he's not voted captain, obviously there's going to be some issues," Cook said after Michigan State's pro day on Wednesday. "So people immediately jump to conclusions: Oh, he must have done something to not be voted captain.

"Did he break a team rule? Did he get arrested? No. Well, he must not get along with his teammates. Well, that's not true, either. Oh, well he must have a really bad attitude or a bad personality. And that's not true, either.

"So obviously, there's going to be some red flags, but that's the funny thing about it. There is no red flags. So I'm just going to continue to be me and just go from there."

Cook said he wouldn't have changed anything leading up to the captain vote, even though there was some backlash. He said it did irk him, though, that he wasn't voted to be one of the captain even though he was on Michigan State's leadership council for the year.

"Yeah, a little bit," Cook said. "Obviously, you want to be captain. But it just drove me to be the best quarterback I could possibly be and just earn everything I get."

Cook said he thinks the way he has handled questions about the lack of captaincy has shown how he can be a leader.

Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said Wednesday he did not anticipate Cook's lack of captaincy would become an issue.

He said he does understand that any quarterback is going to face more questions, however, because of the money teams will invest in him and the prestige of the position.

"I'm concentrated on getting our football team ready to play and doing what I gotta do for our football team winning football games, so I lose sight of maybe things down the line a little bit, like everybody would," Dantonio said. "I didn't think it would cause this type of situation.

"Everyone needs to understand we won 43 games with those seniors. There's a lot of guys in that locker room that lead. There's a lot of guys that have relationships with a lot of our players. So we had a very, very strong senior class. So Jack Allen, which plays in the trenches, was elected in that respect."

Dantonio said Cook still showed leadership on the field and in the locker room, and that's reflected in the team's record.

On the field, Cook was one of the best quarterbacks in college football last season. He completed 229 of 408 passes for 3,131 yards, 24 touchdowns and seven interceptions in 2015. He already has private workouts set up with Miami, Dallas and San Francisco in East Lansing, Michigan.

Cook is back to himself physically as well. He suffered a shoulder injury against Maryland on Nov. 14 and missed the next game against Ohio State. He said he finally was 100 percent recovered a couple of weeks before the combine and added some deeper routes to his workout to show scouts he could throw the ball deep. He hit all but five of his throws Wednesday to familiar receivers during the workout.