Miami Central star Dalvin Cook is a relentless running back who ranks among the top offensive playmakers in the 2014 recruiting class. The future Florida Gator teams up with 4-star tailback Joseph Yeaby (Miami commit) to give the Rockets one of the nation's most feared high school rushing tandems.
Cook, a 5'11", 190-pound senior, committed to Florida in April. He chose the Gators over a list of programs that features Florida State, Texas, Alabama and Clemson.
247Sports composite rankings list Cook as the country's third-best running back recruit and the No. 3 player in Florida. He is among the prized commitments in a 2014 Gators class that features eight 4- and 5-star prospects.
However, Cook did make an official visit to Texas on Sept. 14, per 247Sports. That trip is sure to pique the interest of Longhorn fans.
His senior season is off to an outstanding start.
Through four games, he has rushed for 527 yards and scored 14 total touchdowns, per 247Sports. As Cook continues to set a course toward All-American consideration, let's take a look at the elements of his game that make him such a special player.
Cook is significantly more powerful than his documented 190-pound frame indicates. He is a muscular young man, who clearly puts time into training at one of the Sunshine State's powerhouse programs.
This raw power, which can be harnessed and molded to an even greater extent once he's in the daily presence of a collegiate football staff, sets the tone for how he approaches each play. There is absolutely no hesitancy in his rushing style, particularly when he attacks the line of scrimmage,
Cook is a one-cut-and-go back who avoids wasted motion. The instinctiveness of his first steps set him up nicely for lengthy runs, which he often finishes with authoritative contact.
He is listed by 247Sports as a 4.45 forty-yard-dash runner, but the speed is slightly deceptive because it's easy to become enamored and concerned with the power aspects of his game. When Cook finds daylight, he's a definite threat to reach the end zone from 30-40 yards out.
Due to his straight-line speed, Cook is an ideal candidate to return kicks while he is still serving as a reserve in the backfield. He's at his best when heading upfield without much lateral movement, instead aiming to explode into rushing lanes.
He won't spin or maneuver his way out of may tackles, rather reliant on north-south acceleration. When bottled up in the backfield on a broken play, Cook can't make tacklers miss on a consistent basis, but he can push forward to salvage yards.
Based on game film and statistics, Cook isn't often called upon to play a large part in the passing game. If he aims to stay on the football field in college as an every-down back, that must change.
Cook can develop more consistency with his initial reaction to the snap. He will occasionally take false steps at the start of the play, which may not seem like a big deal at the high school level because he can use quickness to atone, but those minute mistakes often make the difference between a significant gain or botched play in college.
Cook will get work early in his freshman season, spelling more established running backs during second-half action of blowout victories. Florida coach Will Muschamp may give him an opportunity to field kicks during his initial training game, presenting Cook the chance to carve out a niche.
Expect him to receive at least a share of the carries by his sophomore season, with a realistic possibility that he seizes a starting role in the Gators' offense curing the 2015 season. His physicality should lend itself well in the SEC, where Cook can absolutely become a multi-year starter at Florida.
Muschamp's team has the makings of an explosive offensive attack down the line with Cook and fellow 2014 5-star prospects Ermon Lane (wide receiver, Homestead, Fla.) and Will Grier (quarterback, Davidson, N.C.) getting closer to arriving in Gainesville.
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