Brandon Cook: I have no idea what my playing weight will be, because I'm sure I'll lose some. Right now I weigh 350. Last season I played at around 325 pounds. I'll probably stay around 330 to 335. That's where I'll probably play and it would be nice to stay around there. I know I'll get stronger and would like to gain some more muscle mass.
CN: How are your relationships with the other offensive linemen in this class, particularly with the ones from in state?
Cook: The only ones I've really talked to were Aaron Brant, John Tjaden and Milan Moses. They're great athletes. I'm excited to play with them and practice with them. They're really nice people. Aaron and I are really good friends. We'd always go down to the games and talk on the phone every once in a while. He's down there right now. I saw him a few weeks ago at a basketball game. He told me how things are going for him and what to expect.
CN: Are you staying with Aaron when you work out in Ames this summer?
Cook: I don't know where I'll stay, but I am coming down and working out a lot this summer. I haven't really lined up a place to stay yet. If I can't find a place to stay down there, I've got a friend that lives close by there. I'll be down there almost all summer. I'd like to get myself worked in, so I'm not behind when we report.
CN: How will the relationships the in-state offensive linemen have built benefit the unit as a whole this season and in the future?
Cook: It's just going to help us work together and push ourselves. When we were down at camp, we pushed each other. That's what it's all about – making each other better and giving each other the confidence we need. But it's not just the recruits that are coming in. It's the whole team down there. I've had the chance to meet a lot of the football players that are coming back next year that I'll be practicing with.
CN: Was the recruiting process made easier by your early commitment, or did some other programs jump on board late to complicate things?
Cook: I got letters from other colleges, but when Iowa State started paying the most attention me, then offered and invited me down to football games, there was no question in my mind. After meeting all of the coaches and the way I was treated, it felt like the place for me. It's a given that the coaches care about you. I hadn't even signed yet and they showed that much interest and cared for me.
CN: On the other hand, was it hard missing out on the potential for more regional and national praise by giving ISU a verbal last summer?
Cook: The hype and all of the recognition – I don't really care about that. I'm playing for a quality program and couldn't really see myself playing anywhere else. It's close to home. I like the coaching staff, facilities and players. Getting all of the publicity is not a big thing for me.
CN: What are some experiences from summer camp that you can take with you to Ames?
Cook: Pass blocking is the main thing. We don't do a whole lot of pass blocking up here, and the schemes they do are totally new to me. That's something I've still got to learn, but I got a lot out of camp. I didn't get a lot more experience in it this year, but the pass blocking builds quicker feet. That's always a plus and helps out your agility.
CN: What are your plans for next season, as far as playing right away or redshirting?
Cook: Everybody has a fair chance at it, so I'm going to go in there and give it all I've got. If I'm good enough to get a starting position, then I'm all for it. But I've heard that the offensive line is one of the toughest positions to learn. It's not going to be easy. I don't expect myself to play the first year, but if I'm fortunate to play, it's all good. I have a lot of learning still to do.
CN: What's this about you running a leg for your team's 4x100-meter relay team?
Cook: (Laughing) In our conference we have a thing called the Fat Man 4x100 team. It was a JV meet. It's all of the bigger guys on our team. I was basically the biggest guy that ran it that day on our team. The coaches asked me if I was prepared to run it. I figured, why not? There was another kid from another town that I'm good friends with that does it every now and then. So I ran the last leg and had the second-fastest time on our team that day.
It wasn't all that bad. It felt pretty good to just open up and give it all I had. It was exhausting, but it felt good to power through down the 100 yards.