Cook inspired by BYU visit

One of the top outside linebackers from Southern California attended BYU's Junior Day. With 15 scholarship offers from programs in the ACC, SEC, MWC and Pac-12, Cook is a national prospect with a lot of options. His visit to BYU got him excited about the Cougars.

Junior Day was the first time 6-foot-4-inch, 220-pound outside linebacker Tyler Cook received an opportunity to be coached by Coach Poppinga.

"The coaching by Coach Poppinga was incredible and he's an incredible coach," said the highly recruited Cook. "I can say enough from experience that he's an incredible coach. He's a really good person and I never really had that type of coaching before. It was just a great experience. I mean, the enthusiasm, describing to me exactly what he wants me to do, demonstrating to me how things are done properly in comparison to how things are done wrong, it was just a really good experience."

Coach Poppinga put his group of linebackers through various drills designed to test and hone their skills.

"We started at first just doing footwork drills, and then we went into pass-rush drills," said Cook. "We worked on drop coverage and then we did one-on-ones."

Joining Cook in the outside linebacker group was Mission Hills High School's Fred Warner. Although Warner has eight scholarship offers – the most recent being USC, Utah and Washington State – he is committed to play for BYU. Cook was very impressed with Warner during the drill portion of the camp.

"Me and Fred did a lot of pass-rushing," said Cook. "I got a chance to watch Fred and I was really impressed because I haven't seen him live before. He's a very passionate player, great motor and overall great form. He's an exciting player and quick and fast off the edge.

"There was also a running back [Tre Watson] from Centennial that was impressive. I didn't see too much of him honestly, because I was working out with a different group, but what I heard from the other coaches is he was really good. They're hoping to get him.

"There was one o-lineman that really stood out and I know he has an offer from BYU. He was an offensive tackle, I believe, and he's a really good athlete and he was huge. That guy is really good."

That offensive tackle was Chandon Herring, who later received an offer and committed to BYU.

"Yeah, I went up against him every chance that I could," said Cook. "He and I went up head-to-head and I tried to get as many reps as I could against him. It was really good competition and very exciting going up against him."

At 6 feet 7 inches and 260 pounds, Herring turned out to be the top offensive tackle prospect at the camp. Coming out of Southern California where the talent is plentiful and well developed, Cook has faced a lot of quality talent. He felt that Herring has a ton of athleticism to go with a ton of untapped potential.

"He's a great athlete and very passionate and all smiles," Cook said. "I mean, we'd go against each other in one-on-ones and sometimes I'd beat him or he'd beat me. Afterwards it was always smiles. Then we'd go head-to-head on the next rep. He's a great kid with a ton of talent and athleticism. He's a great athlete and has a ton of potential. The only thing is down here in California everyone is more developed with technique. He's a great athlete and for his size is really quick and light on his feet. He has a ton of potential and is going to be great at BYU."

Joining Cook for BYU's Junior Day activities was close friend and fellow Vista Murrieta teammate Randy Beggs. Beggs is a safety prospect and apparently had a great time as well.

"He fell in love with the place. The area, the people, the environment, the coaches, the players and everything about BYU just stood out to him," said Cook. "He really loved it. It was a good experience for him."

While taking in the camp activities and rubbing shoulders with BYU's coaches, one aspect stood out to him throughout the day. It was a common theme heard by all in attendance.

"I think what stands out the most to me is the character that's expected," said Cook. "I mean, even before we started the camp the first thing the coaches talk about is what it means to be a real man. Coach Mendenhall talked about being a leader and example and doing things like Thursday's Heroes and staying close to the Lord. Those are the things that really stood out to me and impressed me."

The coach that impressed Cook the most was BYU head coach Bronco Mendenhall. With the win-at-all-cost mentality that often plagues many college programs, Cook feels Coach Mendenhall doesn't get the proper recognition he deserves.

"Overall, you can talk about Coach Mendenhall's honors and what he's accomplished as a coach, but I think his greatest accomplishments are his integrity, his character, his honesty, his spiritual level, his charity and concerns for others," said Cook. "I mean, take a look at his Thursday Hero program and all that stuff is just so ridiculous. He's affecting the lives of many while teaching his players how to give back and care for others.

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