Offer No. 1 didn't come exactly how he'd envisioned, but McDonogh (Owings Mills, Md.) linebacker Wyatt Cook will take it. The Eagles' 6-foot-3, 230-pound junior was in the middle of wrestling practice when his cell phone lit up with a Maryland offer.
"I don't normally pick up my phone during practice, but I did this time and I heard Maryland had offered me," Cook said. "I was kind of shocked. It was hard to believe. But, you know, it felt pretty awesome. It was a big weight off my shoulders, getting that first offer."
Cook said he heard the Terps would love to add another McDonogh player to the Maryland program.
"[Coach Keith Dudzinski] told my coaches he loved how I played hard all the time and how I had a great motor," said Cook, who recorded over 100 tackles and seven sacks for an Eagles squad that is coming off their first-ever undefeated (11-0) season and an MIAA conference title. "He said he'd love for me to play for Maryland."
Cook has already been around the team a couple times in the last year, first for a junior day and then for the Maryland-West Virginia game at M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore. He said he hopes to return to College Park for a visit this offseason, and he'll almost assuredly attend another junior day.
"And I'd love to maybe go to the bowl game they're going to," Cook said. "I've got to keep my options open to see if I get invited anywhere else, but I'd definitely love to go to [the Military Bowl] and see Maryland."
Beings that he's around the program and has stayed in touch with the program, Cook knows a thing or two about the Terps. He's watched several games on TV, knows numerous current players and has a rapport with a couple coaches.
"The direction of the program is going up. Coach [Randy] Edsall si a great coach and I love the staff," Cook said. "Last year they didn't do so well, and it didn't look so great, but this year they've showed signs, they've gotten better and now they're going to a bowl game. Next year they'll be in the Big Ten, so it's definitely exciting to see them progress."
Considering Maryland has added three McDonogh players in the last three years, including two in the 2014 class, Cook has heard quite a bit of Terps posturing. He knows current Maryland defensive end and former Eagle Roman Braglio, and he's friends with Maryland-bound McDonogh seniors Jared Cohen and Josh Woods.
"Jared and Josh, they love Maryland and they're always saying great things about the school," Cook said. "They both committed pretty quick once they got the [Terps] offer. They said they couldn't see themselves anywhere else. They said they're sure they made the right choice and that it's a great school and a great football program. That's definitely going to play into my decision, the things they've told me."
But don't expect Cook to commit as quickly as those two did. While Cohen and Woods practically shut down their recruiting following their Terps offers, Cook has already visited numerous schools and is courting plenty of suitors.
He said Penn State, Northwestern and Virginia Tech (in addition to Maryland) have stopped by McDonogh during the open period, and he believes he's inching closer to adding offers from any one of those programs. Pittsburgh, West Virginia and several others are also showing interest.
"Penn State, Northwestern, Virginia Tech, Pittsburgh, I'd love to get offers from all of them," said Cook, who attended games at PSU, Pitt, Maryland and West Virginia this fall. "I like them all. I've already got one big-time offer from Maryland, and it would be awesome to get some other ones."
The Nittany Lions are one program that has caught his eye. Cook has relatives in Pennsylvania and has been in State College several times.
"I love Penn State. A lot of my family is from there, so it's always a school I'll have in mind. I feel very comfortable there, and I really like the atmosphere there," Cook said. "It would be awesome to have an offer from them."
But while a PSU verbal would be nice, Cook said that wouldn't necessarily put the Nittany Lions ahead of the Terps.
"[Maryland will] always have my interest because it's the home school and they were my first offer," said Cook, who will play lacrosse once he's finished wrestling. "It will always be at or near the top, even if I get more offers, which I hope I do. Maryland is a great school."
So, does that mean Cook is destined to continue the pipeline from Owings Mills to College Park?
"I don't know yet," he said, laughing. "We'll have to see what happens."
Terps First to Offer Cook
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