SPRINGDALE - Arkansas' top football prospect will stay close to home for college.
Springdale Har-Ber senior Brey Cook verbally committed to Arkansas on Tuesday, ending a whirlwind recruiting process for one of the nation's top offensive linemen and giving Razorback coaches one of their top targets in the class of 2011.
"When it came down to it I just had to stay home," Cook said. "There was no way I could leave.
"Growing up a Razorback fan and the proximity to home is awesome. Family is a big deal to me and I want them to be able to see my games."
Cook (6-7, 310) chose Arkansas over 17 scholarship offers from the likes of Oklahoma, Alabama, Notre Dame and USC, to name a few. He is the seventh in-state commitment in the rising senior class for the Razorbacks and the fifth from the talent-rich 7A-West conference.
Cook has been selected to participate in the Under Armour All-American Game at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla., in January. A midterm high school graduate, he plans to enroll in the University of Arkansas later that month and will be eligible to go through spring drills with the Razorbacks in 2011.
"I had a college coordinator come through and tell me, 'I've been on the east coast and I've been on the west coast and I'll tell you there are only one or two tackles that look better than him. He is one of the best in the country,'" Wood said. "At that point I knew we had something special.
"College is not his final stop. He's going to play on Sundays and he's going to a program that is going to help him get there."
As a junior in 2009, Cook anchored an offensive line that helped Har-Ber win its first state championship in its fourth year of varsity football. The Wildcats finished 12-1 and are believed by many to be the favorite for a repeat championship this fall.
Cook said getting his commitment out of the way prior to the season is a relief.
"I'm pumped to get this out of the way and recruiting over with so I can focus on high school football and my senior year," Cook said. "It's been a fun trip. This last year has been incredible."