When you're recognized for something only two men have accomplished, and the
other name is Herschel Walker, people take notice.
Such is the case for Georgia defensive end
Richard Cook, who has received as much attention for his recent track
and field triumphs as his impressive football resume.
This spring, Cook joined the legendary Walker in
achieving a state title both in the shot put and as a member of
Washington-Wilkes' 4x100 relay team.
"It was pretty cool when they told me that," he said.
"That makes me feel great to have my name up there with his, one of the
His football resume is equally impressive. As a junior,
Cook recorded 65 tackles and six sacks from his defensive end position. He also
played tight end and running back, averaging more than eight yards per carry and
scoring 10 touchdowns.
"I like getting a chance to carry the ball, but defense
is my main thing," he said. "I like to rush the quarterback, put the hard hit on
Cook's combination of size (6-4, 265), strength (300
bench, 450 squat) and athleticism (4.6 forty, 36 vertical) have several Top 25
programs paying attention. The home state Georgia Bulldogs have been the first
to offer, and he's got Maryland, Florida, Florida State and South Carolina
rounding out his top five.
"I'm going to camp at either South Carolina or Florida
this weekend. It depends on how far my uncle wants to drive," he said with a
Cook labels Georgia his leader due to the scholarship
offer and proximity to his Tignall home. "They also signed my cousin, Antonio
Mercier, earlier this year," he said. "That could have a big influence on me. It
would be nice to be so close to home and have somebody you know already there."
He said South Carolina is also getting a long look due
to his father and some former teammates. "He's always been a huge fan of Lou
Holtz. I think he'd like me to play for him. We also have a couple of
(Washington-Wilkes) guys down there, so it would kind of be like home."
Ironically, he grew up rooting for one the Bulldogs' and
Gamecocks' SEC East rivals.
"I was a big Tennessee fan," he said. "But it kind of
fell apart with them. They really turned me off. Now maybe I'll be playing
against them and we'll see about things."