Cooking Up Pancakes

Hawgs Illustrated recruiting editor Dudley E. Dawson writes about how the commitment of Springdale Har-Ber offensive lineman Brey Cook (6-7, 310) bolsters the University of Arkansas' 2011 recruiting efforts in a big way.

When you are trying to take a solid college football program and build it into an elite one that is in a BCS bowl each season, it's much easier if you land the best football prospect in your state each year.

That happened for the University of Arkansas this week when Springdale Har-Ber man-child Brey Cook chose the Razorbacks over co-finalist Oklahoma and some 20 other offers.

You can miss on the occasional running back or one of two of the great prep quarterbacks in the state, but you really can't be missing out on 6-7, 310-pound offensive linemen who are among the best in the country.

The importance of his commitment – the 11th of this recruiting class - can not be overstated.

It is a grand slam, walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth with two outs and the title on the line.

That's because Oklahoma got to Cook early (simply because he got to its camp first), got him offered before Arkansas and was the leader in the club house for a long time.

In fact, had his recruiting process ended early in the spring – he likely would have been wearing an OU jersey in college.

But since he didn't that gave UA head coach Bobby Petrino and especially new Razorback offensive line coach Chris Klenakis time to flip him back to the home school.

You can't give Klenakis enough credit in this equation. He came in, meshed with Cook and was able to talk from a strong pulpit seeing as he has over a dozen former offensive linemen playing in the NFL right now.

His "Play Nasty or Don't Play At All" seems perfect for Cook.

He may have grown up loving the Hogs and may not have really wanted to leave his little brother, his mom and friends – but I have no doubts he would have if Arkansas' program had been spiraling downward.

It's not. It's definitely trending upward with Heisman candidate Ryan Mallett and a team that seems poised for a breakout season.

One of the best things for Arkansas is not only do your get a behemoth tackle that is an anchor for years to come on your line, but you get a classy young man who will now go to work landing others for his "new" team.

Having a nationally ranked player in the fold like Cook – he's the sixth best offensive tackle prospect in the country per - can only help in this regard.

The 4-star prospect (albeit that's a notch below where I think he should be ranked) will be able to lead the way in recruiting now.

He'll no doubt be on hand at Arkansas' Elite Camp on July 17th talking to some of the Razorbacks' other top prospects.

He can tell them why he chose the Razorbacks over Oklahoma, USC, Alabama, Miami, Notre Dame, Florida, Auburn and on and on.

It's also likely he will be working the cell phone and facebook hoping to get other top talents to join him on campus.

If you were a quarterback, a running back or a wideout, this is the type of guy that you want to have block for you.

Be it on the field or off of it, Cook commands attention and has quite the presence.

As do some of his fellow commits – 6-5, 295-pound Springdale offensive lineman Mitch Smothers and 6-5, 318-pound Bentonville lineman Marcus Danenhauer.

There's a nickname in there somewhere – something like Smothered, Covered and Cooked.

I'm sure somebody can come up with something better – I'm just getting the ball rolling.

This staff has also taken care of the defensive line early on as defensive end Grady Ollison (6-4, 275) and defensive tackles Robert Thomas (6-2, 330) and Austin Beck (6-8. 300) have already pledged to sign with the Razorbacks.

I know there are people out there who have grown tired of me saying that 2011 was the year that the Razorbacks' recruiting should take a step up.

But you now add Cook to the 10 already on board and suddenly this thing looks like it is about to take off.

One wouldn't be surprised if 15-plus were committed by the end of the month and then the Razorbacks close fast with the best final 10.

As Arkansas recruiting coordinator Tim Horton put it, every coach on the Razorback staff is going to be happy this year because they are all going to get players at their spots.

This football program has gone quite a way in building up depth these last few years with - in my humble opinion – just lacking at the linebacking spots.

I bet that gets addressed in this class as they seem to have offered 20 of those types.

Brey Cook put a smile on a lot of people's faces on Tuesday night when he pledged to sign with Arkansas.

No doubt those fans look forward to this Cook serving up pancakes for years to come.

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