Photo of Jared Cook
Jared Cook (TE)
Height: 6'5"
Weight: 246
Conference: SEC
Hometown: Suwanee, GA
High School: North Gwinnett HS
Featured Prospects
Selected by: Tennessee Titans
Round: 3
Pick (Overall): 25 (89)
Pick Analysis: The former Gamecock is a pass-catching tight end with exceptional speed and quickness. Cook gives the Titans a much-needed vertical threat in the middle of the field.
  1. Overview
  2. Analysis

Most thought coach Gamecocks Steve Spurrier was simply hyping a recruit when he compared a freshman wide receiver to some of the best he has ever coach, calling him "another Calvin Johnson." However, three years later and coming off a dazzling performance at the NFL Combine, Cook as backed up the lofty praise.

It is very rare to see a big, physical athlete with the explosive quickness and outstanding athleticism that Cook displays. In Indianapolis, he finished first among the tight ends in the 40-yard dash (4.49), vertical jump (41 inches) and broad jump (10 feet, 3 inches) before injuring his quadriceps during his second 40-yard run.

Cook's 41-inch vertical leap earned 100 pairs of cleats for his old high school, North Gwinnett. Under Armour Inc. set up a deal at the combine where it will buy 100 new cleats for the high school alma mater of anyone who runs a 4.35 or better in the 40, posts a 41-inch vertical or higher or does the 20-yard shuttle in 3.85 seconds or faster. Cook's performance left draft analysts and scouts buzzing.

While Cook was highly recruited in football coming out of North Gwinnett High School, he was also a much-sought after basketball prospect. The first-team All-Conference, All-State and Super 11 Team selection by The Atlanta Journal Constitution was rated the 24th-best player in the state of Georgia and the 40th-best wide receiver in the country by as a senior. He also received Gwinnett Daily Super VI team accolades.

That year, Cook caught 32 passes for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior. He also competed as a free safety for head coach Kyle Richardson. He added All-Conference honors while also receiving All-State recognition as one of Georgia's top basketball players.

"Jared Cook is a great football player and an outstanding young person. Coach Spurrier and his staff got a real steal out of the state of Georgia. He is definitely going to be a great player for South Carolina," Gwinnett coach Richardson said when Cook signed with SC.

Performing as receiver on the scout team during his first year at South Carolina, the lanky 220-pounder redshirted in 2005. He appeared in 11 games in 2006, starting vs. Wofford at tight end, but also saw action at flanker and split end, finishing with 113 yards and one touchdown on six receptions (18.8 avg).

The following season, he started three times while sharing tight end duties with Andy Boyd. Having bulked up to 235 pounds, Cook was the sensation of fall camp, clocking a scorching 4.37 in the 40-yard dash. He was prepared for the punishment going over the middle, having also increased his bench press by more than 40 pounds. He finished third on the team with 30 receptions for 421 yards (14.0 avg) and three touchdowns.

The 2008 campaign turned into Cook's coming out party. The Mackey Award semifinalist and All-Southeastern Conference first-team selection started 11 contests at tight end. The junior ranked second on the team with 37 receptions for 573 yards (15.5 avg) and three touchdowns, ranking 12 in the league with an average of 44.08 receiving yards per game.

After the season, Cook decided to forgo his senior season and applied for the 2009 NFL Draft. It will be a busy Cook family household on draft weekend, as his older brother, Mississippi fullback Jason Cook, is also expected to hear his name called.

High School

Attended North Gwinnett (Suwanee, Ga.) High School, playing football for head coach Kyle Richardson...First-team All-Conference, All-State and Super 11 Team selection by The Atlanta Journal Constitution...Rated the 24th-best player in the state of Georgia and the 40th-best wide receiver in the country by as a senior...Received Gwinnett Daily Super VI team accolades...Caught 32 passes for 800 yards and 10 touchdowns as a senior...Also competed as a free safety...Added All-Conference honors while receiving All-State recognition as one of Georgia's top basketball players.

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Positives: Rare athlete. Reportedly ran a 4.37-second 40-yard dash and posted a 39.5-inch vertical leap in 2007. Long, lanky build capable of handling additional mass without a significant loss of quickness. Good burst off the line of scrimmage to challenge the seam and can throttle down, sink his hips and create separation against even athletic defenders. Flashes natural hands for the reception. Can snatch passes outside of his frame due to his long arms and big hands. Good elusiveness after the catch and can accelerate past defenders for long gains. Good burst off the snap to get to the second level. Has the lateral agility to mirror and effectively block defenders in space.

Negatives: Not necessarily the sum of his parts. Often lined up wide in the Gamecocks' offense and may struggle to acclimate to a more pro-style offense. Relies on his athleticism rather than technique to get off the line of scrimmage. Tends to freelance a bit as a route-runner. Can make the spectacular catch, but is prone to lapses in concentration. Marginal effort and effectiveness as a blocker, especially in close quarters.

Compares To: VERNON DAVIS, San Francisco -- Cook might not be a great fit for a team looking for a traditional tight end, as he might be better served in motion. He is bigger than Davis and just as quick. Cook won't match up strength-wise, but he is getting close. The problem is that he likes to freelance a lot and is too inconsistent as a blocker. At times, he reminds some of former South Carolina bust Troy Williamson, a speedster with a lack of focus. As for production, it has been ho-hum, meaning he will be drafted much higher based on his athleticism than his final numbers on the field. There were some very hush-hush moves on the SC staff's part in regards to his foot injury last year, and further medical evaluation would ease the minds of some teams there.

Injury Report

2008: Arrived in August camp wearing a protective boot on his right foot (undisclosed injury thought to be a stress fracture), which prevented the coaches from shifting him to wide receiver...Suffered a right ankle sprain and re-aggravated his foot injury on a 63-yard reception in the Mississippi game (10/04)...Re-injured his foot in practice (10/29) prior to the Tennessee clash (11/01) and saw just limited action.

2009: Did not complete the agility tests or participate in the position drills at the February NFL Combine after suffering a pulled quadriceps muscle running his second 40-yard dash.

Copyright, distributed by The Sports Xchange.