Joseph Yearby vs. Dalvin Cook: Which 5-Star RB Is Better?
Miami Central High School is home to the best running back tandem in the country. As juniors, Dalvin Cook rushed for 1,451 yards and Joseph Yearby 1,448 yards. They combined to score 42 rushing TDs and caused problems for defenses as receivers and returners.
Cook and Yearby also decided to change their commitments during this recruiting cycle, as Cook flipped from Clemson to Florida, and Yearby flipped from Florida State to Miami. Both are amazing talents, but one may have slightly better skills than the other.
You may be shocked at the winner of this 5-star scouting battle.
Player statistics are based on their player profiles at 247Sports.
Yearby is a solid 5'9" and 190 pounds, showing a compact build with good thickness. He is not a little running back, so do not be fooled by his height. He has excellent definition and tone in his body, as he shows the potential to be in the 205- to 210-pound range in college.
Cook has a chiseled 5'11", 190-pound frame. He has the body of a college running back while still possessing the potential to add more bulk. Cook could weigh 215 pounds before his junior season in Gainesville.
Advantage: Cook is taller, but this really is a tie.
Speed and Quickness
A quicker-than-fast athlete, Yearby has excellent agility. He is a darter who shows a great burst in short areas and through holes. He has good speed, but there are running backs who possess superior long speed than Yearby. But make no mistake, Yearby has elite quickness, balance, athleticism and agility.
Cook is an explosive athlete with a sprinter's burst. Yearby is quicker, but Cook shows better long speed. He has no athletic limitations, is an agile runner and flashes great balance.
Vision and Instincts
The Miami commit has no problem allowing his blocks to set up. He shows patience, but Yearby also can recognize front-seven alignments and determine in the pre-snap phase of a play where he wants to run.
He knows how to use his lack of height as an advantage, as Yearby will hide behind his offensive line, camouflage himself with traffic and then dart upfield. He sees backside holes and has a good feel for when to bounce to the edges.
Cook has solid instincts and vision, but—unlike Yearby—he does not display those traits on a consistent basis. Cook can be a patient runner, will set up blocks and has the awareness to keep tabs on back-seven defenders flowing to the football. His style is more decisive than Yearby's.
Outside Running Ability and Elusiveness
Yearby does most of his damage on outside running plays. He has an exceptional burst to jump to the edges, as he can turn the corner on a defense. Yearby does not need to gather himself to cut. This is a sudden runner who fails to allow defenders to get a clean shot on him due to his terrific elusiveness.
The Florida pledge is excellent at shooting to the edges of the box. Cook can skate outside the tackles by accelerating quickly, eluding defensive ends and linebackers, and has the ability to cut on a dime. He can stop and start as well any running back in the country. Tackling Cook in a phone booth is virtually impossible, and the more space he gets during a play, the more likelihood he's going to the end zone.
Inside Running Ability, Strength and Tackle-Breaking Ability
Yearby is a willing inside runner who will press holes. He has deceptive strength, but he is not going to push piles or have consistent success in the middle of the defense in college.
He can exploit over-flowing linebackers by being used on interior trap plays, but running with a load of power and escaping from the clutches of big defensive tackles and inside linebackers is not his best asset.
When evaluating Cook, it is easy to get excited because he has the potential to become a complete running back. Cook flashes strength, can run through arm tackles and is willing to slash through interior seams.
He still prefers to get to the outside and will likely never be considered a power back, but Cook could be a bell-cow running back as an upperclassman at Florida.
Hands and Receiving Ability
Yearby has a high ceiling as a receiving threat. Miami would be wise to allow Yearby to make plays from the slot, as well as the on the perimeter of a formation. Yearby could be lethal when getting the ball on screens and swing routes.
Cook will need more reps to become more comfortable as a receiver, but he does display the skills needed to be a threat in the passing game. His athleticism, speed and quickness are all traits that will help him become a good short-area route-runner.
After thoroughly evaluating the two great running backs, Yearby is the slightly superior player now, but Cook has more potential. It's a tough call to make, but since high school players are so young and have time to develop, the choice is Cook.
Cook will be the bigger back in college, while also possessing equal speed, athleticism, elusiveness and quickness to Yearby.
Miami is getting an excellent player in Yearby, but Cook could be special.