Catching Up with Tyler Cook

Bronco Mendenhall and Kelly Poppinga recently paid an in-home visit to Vista Murrieta linebacker Tyler Cook. Considered one of the premier linebackers in Southern California, Cook enjoyed his time visiting with BYU's head coach and his future position coach.

After enjoying an outstanding senior season and receiving a bevy of scholarship offers from top programs across the nation, BYU commit Tyler Cook took some time to reflect on how his senior season played out.

"It went really well and it was a fun year," Cook said. "I'm really glad I got to play with these guys my senior year on this team. I don't know what my tackles were but I had 11 and a half sacks this year.

Now that his high school career is over, the 6 foot-4 inch linebacker with 4.51 40 speed has been focusing on the next stage of his life; preparing for BYU and playing at the collegiate level.

"Since the end of the season I've been doing a lot of working out, footwork, and agility and change in direction stuff," Cook said. "I gained three pounds since the end of the season and weigh 218. My speed is still the same with the added weight. I'm making sure that with the added weight that my speed and agility stays the same."

A few weeks ago, Bronco Mendenhall and his Outside Linebackers Coach Kelly Poppinga made the rounds in Southern California to conduct visits in the homes of committed high school prospects. Cook was among those to receive a visit and recapped how it went.

"Coach Mendenhall and Coach Poppinga came down about two-weeks ago," said Cook. "It was pretty awesome! I think what happened was they went down and visited Fred Warner then went surfing. Coach Mendenhall went surfing down in Oceanside or San Diego. Then he came over and visited me."

While the two BYU coaches were in San Diego it sounds like Coach Mendenhall tried to get his assistant coach to catch a few waves.

"He tried to get Coach Poppinga to go surfing with him, but I don't think Coach Poppinga didn't want to go in the water" Cook said.

Following the coaches surfing safari in San Diego, they hit the 215 freeway and headed north to Tyler Cook's house. Coach Poppinga showed up a little early, prior to Coach Mendenhall's arrival.

"The first thing that happened was Coach Poppinga showed up and we kind of gave him the grand tour," Cook said. "Then Coach Mendenhall showed up later and we showed him all around the house. We showed him our horse and pool area. We then sat down and talked about my future and all that would be in store for me, what I would be doing, my major, and that got me pumped up. I'm beyond ecstatic about my future."

Coach Mendenhall gave Cook an optimistic but realistic outlook on his future. The outcome of which really depends on how hard Cook works towards the goals Coach Mendenhall feels he can reach.

"He told me to just be ready for it," said Cook. "We talked about how it's one of the hardest schools to get into, that it's right up there with Harvard and those types of universities. To be a part of that really got me pumped up. We talked about how hard I'm going to work for the program and what I can accomplish if I apply a good work ethic."

When asked about his relationship with future BYU linebacker, Fred Warner, Cook mentioned that he traveled, in a show of support, to watch one of Warner's state playoff games. While Mission Hills High School lost the game, Warner had an outstanding game according to Cook.

"I actually went and watched one of his games. He played against Bakersfield and had the game of his life," Cook said. "Man, he killed it! It's unfortunate how the game turned out in the end, and I really felt bad for him, but he should be happy with all he's accomplished."

Cook went to watch the game unbeknownst to Fred Warner. Cook wanted to show his support for Warner and cheer for his success.

"He had no idea I was coming up, but his mom did," said Cook. "I wanted to go out there and watch his game and support him. We are already like brothers even though we haven't played on the same team yet."

Getting back to his visit from BYU coaches, Cook explained that his mother made some prime rib with all the fixings for dinner. The family sat down to dinner with the coaches and a pair of special guests.

"Then we sat down and had dinner," said Cook. "That's when the missionaries came over for dinner. My mom made prime rib, mashed potatoes, beans, cornbread, and mac and cheese. We had everything."

Apparently, the missionaries got quite the surprise when walking into the Cook home to find Coach Mendenhall and Coach Poppinga there visiting the family.

"They were pretty much in shock," Cook said with a laugh. "Not too many people get a chance to meet the head coach of BYU. They were pretty shocked to be sitting down at the same table eating dinner with Coach Mendenhall and Coach Poppinga. They were pretty much stunned to be sitting at the same table as the head coach of BYU. "

Cook continued "they (the missionaries) were asking questions but they were a little shy about the whole thing. They were pretty much just stunned they were there. Coach Mendenhall was asking them about their missions and all the experience they've had. It was kind of funny because they were in shock from being asked about their mission by Coach Mendenhall. It was pretty funny."

Coach Poppinga told the Elders stories of when he served his mission in Central America.

"They were sharing stories back and forth," said Cook. "Then Coach Poppinga told stories of when he served his mission. He talked about how he saw three that were people murdered right in front of him. I guess he served in a really bad area in his mission and, man, that's just crazy. I'll tell you what, Coach Poppinga is a stud and I'm excited he's going to be my future position coach."

Apparently the surprises at the Cook household had just begun. From the sound of it Coach Poppinga found his long-lost twin that night.

"It was pretty funny because one of the missionaries looked exactly like Coach Poppinga," said Cook with a laugh. "He looked identical to him. His name is Elder Mitchell and those guys looked like twins."

Apparently the bonding between Coach Mendenhall and Cook's family didn't stop there. Bronco was able to tap into his cowboy roots and chat with Cook's grandmother.

"Another highlight for me was listening to Coach Mendenhall and my grandma [Margie] talk about rodeo stories. That was pretty interesting and fun to watch."

So, ultimately, what were the highlights of Cook's in-home visit?

"For me the highlight was talking with Coach Mendenhall about what I'll be doing once I get up there," said Cook. "Talking with Coach Mendenhall about the opportunities I'll have to play and be a part of a great institution was another one of the highlights."

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