Jamel Cook announces for USC

The Trojans first commitment on National Signing Day was one that surprised many recruiting analysts and experts.

Miami (Fla.) Central four-star safety Jamel Cook was the first recruit to announce his decision to sign a letter of intent with USC Wednesday, but he certainly will not be the last. 

The Trojans got off to a good start on National Signing Day by landing the nation’s No. 3 safety. 

“For the next three to four years I'll be taking my talents to the Universoty of Southern Cal,” Cook announced.  

Choosing USC over Florida State, Miami, Florida, Clemson, Alabama, Auburn, LSU and a host of other schools, Cook was mostly recruited by Trojans administrative assistant Keynodo Hudson. 

Hudson was forced to hit the road recruiting as a full time staff member of the USC coaching staff when Trojan head coach Clay Helton fired all but one four coaches in December. 

“I never really thought USC would come to down South Florida to recruit,” said Cook. “Coach (Hudson) came down and really showed me love. 

“He’s from down here, so we built up a good relationship real fast. He just told me I can come in and make an impact right away. They don’t have a player like me at USC.”

Cook had been committed to Florida State since last February, saying Tallahassee “felt like home.” While Florida State is closer to Miami than Los Angeles, the seven hour drive north ended up being more than the five hour plane ride he took last weekend to see USC in person for the first time. 

Cook, 6-foot-4, 195-pounds, could play cornerback for USC as well. In fact, at the U.S. Army All-American Bowl practices, he was noted as one of the East squad’s top performers because of his ability to cover man-on-man despite his height. 

“Cook is a long, lean defensive back,” said National Recruiting Analysts Allen Trieu. “He looks like a rangy centerfielder, but we were impressed with ability to play man. 

“He can change direction and recover like a smaller player and his length allowed him to get his hands on several passes. Cook has to add weight and strength, but he looks like a potentially special safety who can play in a variety of systems because his man to man ability adds to his versatility.”

Cook officially visited USC with his close friend, Keyshawn Young. After the trip, Young made it known the two would likely end up at the same school. 

“Yeah, we’re real, real close,” said Young. “We’ve been thinking about (playing together), so wherever I go, I think he’s coming too. We have to make our own decisions, but yeah, everyone will know Feb. 3.”

Cook has let the nation know where he is going, in a few hours, Young will do the same. Stay tuned to USCFootball.com for more on both prospects. 

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