Jason Cook was recruited by Ole Miss to be a linebacker, the position he played at North Gwinett HS in Suwanee, GA.
But it didn't take him long to find his "true calling" in collegiate football once he hit the Ole Miss campus prior to the 2004 season.
"I found out almost immediately that I was going to be moved to fullback and I had no objections at all," said Cook, an Honor Roll Student at UM. "I had two veterans in front of me - Rick Razzano and Lorenzo Townsend - who taught me a lot and were excellent fullbacks. They taught me an appreciation for the position. They taught me the importance of the position and they taught me the work ethic necessary to play fullback."
Last year, Cook was the starter during a dismal offensive season for the team. Combined with the fact that he broke his arm and missed some games toward the end of the year, 2005 was not a year to remember.
But he has a new lease on his football life in Rebel Offensvie Coordinator Dan Werner's system.
"Two things have taken place. One, my arm is completely healed now and I'm more mature and stronger," said Jason, an articulate English major. "Two, we use the fullback more in this system than we did in the last one and I am definitely having more fun now."
Cook takes pride in being a fullback, which is not a glory position on the team. He rarely gets the ball and is asked to block, block and block some more.
"I love it. I take pride in my blocking. That's my craft, my job, my role on the team," he explained. "It's something not every back wants to do, but it's what I do and I'm passionate about it.
"The mindset of a fullback is something completely different from any other position. You have to go out there ready to hit and block effectively on every snap. Some positions have plays off, so to speak. Fullbacks can't let up for one instant. If you do, you will get embarrassed."
Cook is excited about this year's backfield and the potential of the offense, despite a letdown last week against Missouri.
"The caliber of talent we have at tailback in all of them - BenJarvus, Mico, Cordera, Bruce and Hiram - is exciting. It's fun to block for all those guys because you know if you do your job they are going to get the yardage that's there to get," he noted.
So what happened against Missouri after producing over 200 yards on the ground against Memphis?
"We just didn't play well all around, from top to bottom. We had one of those games you can't really explain other than to say we played bad," he assessed. "It was disheartening for all the work we had put in for that game.
"We just didn't reach the bar against Missouri after doing a pretty good job against Memphis."
The goal now, for Cook and the Rebel offense, is to make sure there are no repeat performances like the Missouri game.
"We work too hard and push ourselves too much to play like that. I don't think we will see that kind of performance again because it definitely hurt and was a wasted opportunity," he closed. "I think we will be a different offense against Kentucky - more like the Memphis showing."
And Cook will be right in the middle of the scrum.
Jason Cook -
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