The Spartans' three-year starter is one of the top senior prospects for the 2016 draft at his position, but will pass on the opportunity to be one of eight quarterbacks at the annual event in Mobile, Ala. A Senior Bowl source confirmed Cook's decision and told College Football 24/7 that Cook handled the situation well and was "gracious" in declining. The Senior Bowl has since added Arkansas quarterback Brandon Allen to the roster, the seventh of eight quarterbacks to be selected for the event.
The Senior Bowl draws 110 of the top senior draft prospects each year for a week of personal interviews, practices and an all-star game in front of NFL coaches, personnel executives and scouts. The Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars coaching staffs will coach this year's Senior Bowl teams. This year, roster slots for quarterbacks were expanded from six to eight and the Senior Bowl will conduct a new camp-style quarterback event.
Cook led the Spartans to the Big Ten title and a berth in the College Football Playoff, before falling to Alabama, 38-0, in a CFP semifinal. Opinions on Cook's draft status vary, though one NFC scout projects Cook as a third-round choice, and scouting evaluations of him are less than favorable in the area of leadership and intangibles. As such, the Senior Bowl would figure to be an ideal opportunity for a quarterback in Cook's position, though it's not uncommon for top draft prospects to skip the Senior Bowl and use the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis as their formal introduction to NFL clubs.
Without the experience of the Senior Bowl, however, the impression Cook makes at the combine will be all the more important to his draft status.