Some paths to greatness have a few detours along the way. For Klein Oaks, TX Running Back Ossam Cook, the path to greatness at Kansas State will include a brief detour to Blinn CC for a grayshirt semester before making his mark in the Wildcat backfield.
The weekend before Signing Day saw Kansas State host several top talents for a late-in-the-process visit. Chief among those visitors was Ossam Cook, a super speedy running back seeking to add his name to the list of KState greats.
"It feels good. It was a good visit to Kansas State", Cook said when we opened our conversation following his visit to Manhattan. "Kansas State has a really nice campus. I arrived Thursday night and was hosted by Billy McClellan." Before starting the football portion of his visit, Cook even got to sit in on a Friday class - "It was a juvenile corrections / sociology class" Cook said. "I plan on majoring in Communications, but it was cool just to sit in and see what it was like." Having been the KStateFans.com prospective visitors list for almost the entire month of January, it was encouraging to finally check the box next to his name as "Visited/Verballed".
Of course, the classroom is only part of the reason Ossam Cook visited Kansas State. Football is the other half of the equation, and Cook jumped right into the thick of things. "I met with Coach Ludwig, the Offensive Coordinator and we went through a lot." "It's a good situation for me at Kansas State. We talked about the current running backs on staff and watched film. We even watched the Darren Sproles highlight film!" Yes, there's that name again – Darren Sproles. You'll have to indulge this writer a moment if the similarities of Mr. Sproles and Mr. Cook conjure up big smiles. "I'm down to a 4.3 in the 40. So I'm a speed guy. Coach Ludwig went through how that would fit into the spread-option." Yes, we can all imagine how a smaller – 5'8" back with 4.3 speed would fit into the spread-option offense. Paging Mr. Sproles...actually, Paging Mr. Cook!!
For Wildcat fans though, we're going to have to wait a bit until we see that blur of Purple coming out of the backfield. "I'm going to grayshirt. I just didn't take care of things when I was younger. I didn't play football when I was a freshman. And I didn't realize how much football meant until I didn't have it." "I'll be at Blinn next fall. I know Coach Fran there, and he's good with the Kansas State coaches. So I'll work on the classroom stuff and being at Blinn I can stay in football shape and arrive in Manhattan next January."
Speaking of Manhattan, Cooks arrival actually began a short ways before he got to town: "We came in on the Bill Snyder Highway. That's something to have a highway named after you!" "The people are nice in Manhattan, and the campus is just very nice." And speaking of Bill Snyder, his recruiting process with Ossam over the weekend might seem a little odd to outsiders - "Academics. Coach Snyder really could recruit just on academics because he focused so much on that when we met. He wants his players to be successful people, not just successful football players." A Head Coach not talking about football? Yes, it's true. And it's been the constant theme throughout this recruiting class to talk to these young men as young men...focusing on overall success as people and not just football players.
Ossam Cook's visit may have come late in the process, and Kansas State fans may have to wait a bit to see him in Purple. But good things come to those who wait, and success is bred in those who take responsibility. Ossam Cook will be wearing Purple soon enough, be tearing up the Big XII soon enough and will be moving forward with his own success in the classroom. Bill Snyder demands it, and Ossam Cook understands it. And we'll all be happy that Ossam will not have to miss football any longer.