Garner-Hayfield Giant Can't Wait to Sign

Iowa State is off to a big early lead over in-state rival Iowa in football recruiting for the class of 2003. And speaking of big, they don't come much bigger than Brandon Cook.

Dubuque Wahlert's Aaron Brant, Garner-Hayfield's Brandon Cook and Atlantic's Tom Schmeling look forward to joining a solid group of prep signees from one year ago in forming an offensive line with a great future ahead.

"Aaron, Tom and I are ready to get down there, work with them, get our reps in and see what we could do," said Cook, a 6-foot-6, 325-pound tackle. "I'm anxious to be a part of the special program they've got down there. I really like it down there."

Cook has already received preseason All-America mention by SuperPrep and Varsity Sports. In addition to being mentioned by numerous national services, Brant is considered by many as the top in-state player this year. Both talk on the phone regularly about what the future may hold in Ames. In fact, Cyclone coaches have discussed the possibility of putting Cook and Brant on opposite sides of the ball, at offensive tackle

"Aaron and I are both excited about it," Cook said. "The first time I ever really met Aaron was down at camp. He seems like a pretty level-headed kid. It was kind of cool because we got to work against each other and see what we were both made of. It was interesting. We both have weaknesses, but we both have our strengths as well.

"We talk back and forth quite a bit over the phone to see how things are going. Football camp and two-a-days started this week and his started, too, so I called to see what's going on."

When Cook wasn't working his summer job, he spent time lifting weights and running. He has cut 15 pounds from his frame, and says his foot quickness has improved greatly.

"I've been working quite a bit on my footwork, with the first couple of steps and getting off the ball harder and faster and staying low," he said. "Coach (Matt) McGettigan told me some little lifts that I can do to improve, and those are things I've been working on.

"Their run blocking for the offensive line is totally different from what we do. I've been trying to get my first few stops off the ball quicker, so I can explode and get into my man a lot sooner. Their pass blocking is something that I picked up down there at camp. It made me a lot better. I've got a little quicker feet now for pass blocking, but I still need to work on it. That was probably the best camp I've ever been to."

After making a college choice in early May, Cook has the luxury of playing out his senior year without the recruiting hassle.

"It's made it a lot easier," Cook said. "It's nice knowing that I'm going and can forget about all of the other things that go on. There's no question that I'm going to Iowa State. When I go down there I get so excited. When I come back up, I just bring that excitement with me. I'm ready to work that much harder and push myself."

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