Miami (Fla.) Central four-star safety Jamel Cook is one of several U.S. Army All-American players on the East roster with a scholarship offer from USC.
However, Cook is one of the only players on the East team this week with plans to still officially visit the Trojans.
USC offered Cook a scholarship late during his senior season. Visited by temporary defensive backs coach Keynodo Hudson in December, Cook was surprised by USC’s interest level. That's especially true since the Army All-American safety is already committed to play for Florida State.
“I never really thought they would come to down South Florida to visit a player,” said Cook. “Coach (Hudson) came down, and he’s a cool dude. I enjoy talking to him.
“He wants me to come up there and hopefully start as a true freshman at safety.”
At 6-foot-4, 185 pounds, Cook is a long, lean safety who was lauded throughout the week in San Antonio, Texas for his ability to cover man-to-man.
“A lot of people think I can’t play corner because my hips are too stiff,” said Cook. “They think I’m too big and I’ll end up in the box playing safety or at defensive end.
“I’m a DB and I’m willing to prove I can play corner or safety, but I’ll also play wherever I'm needed to play.”?
Cook will officially visit Miami or Louisville Jan. 15 and then head to Los Angeles for an official visit to USC.
“I’m just hoping L.A. is like South Beach,” laughed Cook. “When USC offered me, I thought about Troy Polamalu.
“That was the first thing I thought about. He comes to the party — he likes to hit. Troy Polamalu, Reggie Bush, Carson Palmer, Juju Smith-Schuster, Adoree Jackson… those guys are great players and those are the types of players USC produces.”
Cook doesn’t know much about USC outside its football alumni, but is eager to find out more.
“I’ve never been to California before, so I want to check it out,” said Cook. “I want to experience what it’s like. I want to see new things and explore the world.”
Cook’s father may make the trip with him to Los Angeles, although there’s a better chance that he makes the trip without his family. However, that doesn’t mean he’ll fly solo to USC.
“Yeah, Pie (Keyshawn Young) is coming out with me too,” said Cook.
Cook remains a hot commodity as a recruit, even when he tends to shy away from the attention it brings.
“I just deal with it,” said Cook. “I talk about recruiting with my family almost every day. I just think it over and signing day I’ll make my decision.”
But don’t let the signing day announcement imply that he is wavering from his commitment to the Seminoles.
“I’m headed back up there soon,” said Cook. “I’ll be around my former teammates and hopefully it will feel like home again. I look forward to winning a national championship there.
“To be honest, I’m not sure what it would take to sway me away from Florida State. It feels like family at FSU.
“Me and the coaches there have a great connection. At FSU, they talk about me playing safety and receiver, actually. USC talked about that too. If I come in and get safety down pat, they’ll throw me in on offense for some red zone packages.”