Interview: Colby Cooke

Vanderbilt kicker commit Colby Cooke recently earned a prestigious honor when he was named to the Parade Magazine All-American team. spoke with Cooke about that honor, his senior season, his status with Vanderbilt and more.

Don Yates: Congratulations on making the Parade All-America team. When did you find out about that?
Colby Cooke: I found out last week around Thursday afternoon. I used to read about that as a kid, read the magazine and see all the players. Now I'm actually part of it so it's pretty big.

DY: Did you know you were being considered?
CC: No, no clue.

DY: What did your parents think when they heard you made the Parade All-America team?
CC: They were really happy. They were excited for me, told everybody that they knew. They spread word to like all my family. I'm pretty sure it's a big thing with them. They made a big deal out of it and congratulated me like every day.

DY: Did you hear from any of the Vanderbilt staff after you made the Parade All-American team?
CC: As soon as I found out I called Coach [Charles] Bankins the special teams coordinator. He kind of put me on the phone with the other coaches and they were all congratulating me, telling me how amazing, how wonderful and what a big accomplishment that was to have a commit make the Parade All-American team.

DY: Did you get any other honors? I think I saw that you got All-State.
CC: I made everything All-Jefferson District, All-Region, All-Metro, All-State, Sports Illustrated 2nd Team All-America'

DY: That's outstanding. I'm trying to get you another star on Scout. How did you finish with your kicking stats?
CC: I had 17 field goals this year. My longest was a 51 and I a 48. I had one game where I was 4 for 4 and we won by 3 points. If I would have missed one we probably would have lost. In the state championship game I actually kicked the 51 yarder but we lost. We didn't win the game but it was still a great accomplishment for me.

DY: How many field goals did you attempt?
CC: I think I attempted 21. I'm pretty sure it was 21.

DY: 17-of-21 field goal made. That's outstanding. Did you punt too?
CC: No sir, I actually did not punt. We have a punter [Thomas Meadows] that is a D-1 commit to Purdue. My head coach kind of took us to the side and said, "this is how it is, you are better at kicking right now and you are better at punting. You kick and you punt." We kind of went from there. We are about equal doing everything. No, I did not punt this year.

DY: Have you gotten any other offers since you committed to Vanderbilt?
CC: University of Richmond, University of Virginia and Liberty University.

DY: Are you still planning to greyshirt at Vandy?
CC: Yes sir.

DY: So this means you'll be starting the following year (2013)?
CC: My coaches said that it depends. As of right now you are still greyshirting but he said either way you are still getting a scholarship. It doesn't really matter what it's called. The kicker/punter will be a senior. After he graduates I'll have 4 1/2 years on scholarship plus I get to start as soon as I get in; it kind of works better for my position.

DY: What are you going to do in the four months or whatever before you go to Vanderbilt?
CC: I'm considering doing a community college here in my local county just to kind of get some classes going and while I'm doing that kick a lot and get a lot of instruction from some personal coaches of mine. More kicking to the best ability that I have before I get there.

DY: Are you kind of hoping that you can get in earlier?
CC: Ah, yes sir. It kind of all depends on how there spring practices go and if like a scholarship spot opens for this year since I'll be like the first scholarship filled for 2013. They said if they really need me to get in there they'd figure it out and, I guess, get me in there earlier. As of right now I won't know anything about that until summer, June.

DY: Any idea what you plan on majoring in at Vanderbilt?
CC: I'm going in undecided. That's just a "for now" kind of thing. Hopefully by the time I get there I'll have some kind of clue but they said you don't have to actually decide until your second year of being there. I think I've got some time to choose but I'm going to go in undecided just for now.

DY: What kicking coach will you be training with?
CC: The trainer that I most train with, his name is Dan Orner, he's a kicking coach out of North Carolina. This year he's got big recruits, Bradley Pinion [Clemson], Paul Griggs [Purdue], and me are all D-1 scolarships out of the same year that he trains. I work with him, I also work with Michael Houston, when he comes over; he lives in California. When I get the chance I'll work with him; he's been a long time kicking coach of mine. I'll just hit some camps like NCIS or Special Teams Solutions, just anything available at the time. In-state I'll just use kicking solutions.

DY: Are you trying to increase your leg strength or just keep up your accuracy?
CC: My goal I'm setting now is to increase my strength so I can get some more distance but flexibility is pretty much the main thing. I don't want to do a lot of squats and get too big and not be able to kick. I actually have a personal trainer right now with the American Family Fitness in my town. I do that three or four times a week and I can definitely see a difference already so hopefully I'll be kicking a lot better before I actually get to Vanderbilt. Top Stories