Georgia football has an abundance of wealth at the running back position, but senior running back James Cook has a higher ceiling than most realize.
Cook will be better than his brother Dalvin in the long run, and whoever drafts him is going to get an absolute steal.
After his performance on Saturday, it’s evident. His potential is unmatchable. While most people pay attention to Zamir White and Kendall Milton, Cook is flying under the radar.
The senior may not have the gaudy stats like his brother, who finished at FSU with 4,464 rushing yards, 46 rushing scores, and 935 receiving yards, but it’s his effort and humbleness that is going to carry him far.
Currently, Cook has 183 carries for 1158 yards and 11 touchdowns on the ground. He also has 53 catches for 514 yards and four scores.
However, he has already amassed a career-high 383 rushing yards and four touchdowns with at least five and a maximum of six games to play through nine games this season. Cook has an opportunity to add to his career stats and finish his final year at Georgia with a solid career.
Stats don’t always define a player’s success, though. His attitude, work ethic, and who he is as a human plays a much more significant role.
James will be better than Dalvin because he has had to share the load, which means he hasn’t worn down his body nearly as much. He has had to earn every bit of his stats, and it’s not that Dalvin hasn’t, but it was a little easier for him because he was the lone running back.
On paper, Dalvin will always have him, finishing seventh in the 2015 Heisman Trophy race and helping the Noles win a national championship as a freshman.
Dalvin had senior running back Karlos Williams to share carries with that year, but most of the load came from him after that year.
There is nothing wrong with being a primary running back, Georgia chooses to use a committee of running backs, and Cook knew that when he decided on the Dawgs. By working with others, he has learned what it could be like to play in the NFL. Plus, being able to compete with your teammates and still cheer them on is an excellent attribute to have.
That humbleness makes him better, and it makes him want to show what he can do when he gets the rock. With Georgia sharing the load, these backs won’t have monumental stats, but they will know to take advantage of the opportunities they get.
Cook does whatever gets asked of him. Whether it’s toting the rock, catching passes out of the backfield or throwing blocks for his teammates, he does it well.
His speed is also incredible to watch because if he gets the angle, Cook is gone, and good luck catching him. He brings such a different feel to the running back room because he can do so much — that is one of many reasons why Georgia loves having him around.
Cook is the best receiving running back the Dawgs have, and there as another threat, there is no telling what this offense would look like without him.
Against Missouri on Saturday, he led the team with nine carries for 41 yards and one score. He didn’t have any catches, but there were multiple times he sacrificed his body to lay the block and allow the quarterback to get off the throw.
Dalvin did the same thing and continues to do so in the NFL, but there is something about how James handles his business that he will have a long and potentially more successful career than his brother.
His brother got drafted by the Minnesota Vikings back in the 2016 draft and has been a force. Dalvin already has 4,105 career yards, so the standard is set for James. However, with the way he works, that is such an obtainable goal.
Cook’s stats don’t match what he brings to the table, and hopefully, NFL coaches will see that. Whoever decides to draft this young man will get a healthy workhorse who will outwork everyone else.
He could very well be the steal of the draft because that ceiling is so high, and he has only shown a piece of what he can do at Georgia. If the right staff gets him, he could turn into a starting running back that is not only a threat running the ball but also catching it.
It’s going to be exciting to see how Cook finishes off his final season at Georgia because he could very well help lead his school to a national title just like his brother.