The list of successful runners that came out of Georgia is well documented. From Terrell Davis to Todd Gurley, Sony Michel and D’Andre Swift, there is no shortage of good running backs to play their college ball in Athens.
Another could join their ranks soon as senior running back James Cook looks to build an impressive performance in Georgia’s college football semifinal game against Michigan.
In the game, Cook was actually the team’s leading receiver, with four catches for 112 yards and a touchdown to accompany six carries and 32 yards rushing. He’s been a threat from the backfield all season for the Bulldogs, as his 25 catches put him fourth on the team and his 269 yards fifth.
But this is arguably the biggest game Cook has enjoyed that level of success at. However, James is not the only successful running back in the Cook family.
Sporting News has everything you need to know about the Georgia senior ahead of the Bulldogs meeting Alabama for a national title as he tries to repeat his performance.
brother of james cook
Cook comes from a family of talented running backs and is not the first to have big games on big stages in college.
His older brother, Dalvin, originally burst onto the scene at Florida State. There, he was a two-time All-American and became the Seminoles’ all-time leader in rushing yards during his time there from 2014-16. After that remarkable career, Dalvin went to the Minnesota Vikings of the NFL, where he has been a Pro-Bowler for three consecutive years and has three consecutive seasons with more than 1,000 rushing yards.
The young Cook said his brother has been offering him advice before the biggest game of James’ career.
“I mean, it really tells me to stay locked up all year and get what I deserve. And that’s where I am right now.” James said. “It just tells me to keep working and my time will come. And my team is here. So I have to make the most of it because you only have one of these opportunities. And you can say this is the last.” So I have to make the most of it.
James also said having Dalvin in the NFL served as motivation both to return to Georgia for his senior season and to play well in the game.
“That’s a motivating factor just knowing you have an older brother in the NFL,” he said. “And that’s a place you want to be one day. So that made me want to work harder knowing that I had an older brother in the league and he’s a ballplayer. That played a role as well.”
James Cook Stats
2021 has been the best year of Cook’s career so far. He had a career-high 651 in rushing yards and a career-high 269 in yards per reception. With increasing success, usage has increased.
He has 107 carries so far this year, which means he’s averaging 6.1 efficient yards per carry. That’s more than the past three years, when he had 41, 31 and 45 carries, respectively. Cook has also become a double threat, as he has also shown prowess as a pass catcher.
Last year he had 16 catches for 225 yards, the last of which was good for fourth on the team, and it became a bigger part of the passing game this season.
In total, Cook has 224 carries for 1,426 yards (6.4 ypc) and 14 rushing touchdowns along with 65 receptions for 715 yards passing, making him a versatile option regardless of whether Georgia wants to hit the rock or air it. out of.
James Cook screening project
It’s because of this versatility that Cook has risen up the draft boards, even if he doesn’t have the flashy numbers of some of the other running backs in this class.
ESPN’s Todd McShay was particularly enthusiastic about Cook following his outstanding performance against Michigan.
UGA’s James Cook is the most underrated RB in the draft class of 2022. He may never be the starter of every shot for an NFL team, but he’s a very versatile weapon. I love his vision and he shrinks as a running back and is a legitimate threat that gets in the groove and off the field.
—Todd McShay (@ McShay13) January 1, 2022
Cook could technically return for another year due to a COVID waiver, but he has already accepted an invite to the February Senior Bowl, where he could also line up as a wide receiver. And a good performance there can not only help your draft stock, but it will also compare you to current NFL running backs.
Two years ago we played at Memphis WR Antonio Gibson (yes, that Gibson) exclusively at RB during @seniorbowl week. Last year, UCLA RB Demetric Felton represented at WR. They both benefited enormously from displaying that versatility. James Cook will appear on RB, but he could also appear on WR. https://t.co/jwcZaKQiz8
—Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) December 6, 2021
As for where exactly Cook is projected, it may not be known until closer to the draft. But even long before his breakout game, some of the sport’s top draft analysts have him as an early pick.
Georgia RB James Cook continues to be one of my favorite prospects at the job. I’m not sure why some give him day 3 grades, but his style of running hard at 190 pounds is a delight to behold. He’s also a pretty good receiver and has wide range moves.
More about him in Scouting Notebook 2mrw
– Matt Miller (@nfldraftscout) December 9, 2021