Bears Cook Up A surprise

Bears Cook Up A surprise

It's the time of year where Cal fans have learned to expect the unexpected from Head Coach Jeff Tedford and Cal's recruiting efforts. 2007 provided yet another late surprise commitment –one that will make Bear fans happy, especially those that have viewed his outstanding highlight footage.

A week ago, most Cal recruiting fans had never heard the name Alex Cook. That changed this week, as the 4 star, 2nd team JC All-American from Texas' Blinn College took an official visit to Berkeley."

"I'm gonna be a Golden Bear," said an obviously excited Cook.

"I just decided that Cal has the most to offer me and I'm really excited to get going," said Cook.

A few weeks ago, Cal announced the hiring of new linebacker coach Kenwick Thompson. The Bears are already reaping the benefits of Thompson's hiring as he played a key role in Cook's whirlwind recruitment.

While Cook played defensive end at Blinn, the Bears plan to utilize his speed and play Cook at the linebacker slot under Thompson's tutelage at Cal.

"Yes, sir," said Cook. "I'll be playing the Sam (strong side linebacker) position for Cal next year. Coach Thompson has a great scheme lined up and I really like the way he plans to use me. I'd have to say that Coach Thompson is one of the big reasons I decided to commit to Cal and I can't wait to play for him."

"I'll be rushing the passer a lot, too," said Cook. "They just want to put me in a position where I can make plays."

Cook also noted that he valued the degree that he'd receive from Cal.

"Football won't always be there, but a degree from Cal will last a lifetime," said Cook.

Cook spoke of his comfort level with the Cal players, especially his host, Justin Forsett -himself a Florida native by way of Texas -as playing an important role in his choice of Cal as well.

"Justin's real cool. We had some good battles playing Madden football," said Cook, laughing.

Prior to his visit, Cook had received offers from an impressive list of suitors throughout the country, including Arkansas, Tennessee, Louisville and Arizona State. Cal got in the game late with Cook but they came on strong, immediately taking the lead for Cook's services when he visited Berkeley.

Cook expressed his desire to be a Bear at the end of his visit, but still had one more big visit to make as he headed straight from Berkeley to ASU. While Cook enjoyed his trip to Tempe and was comfortable with the staff there, the Bears ended up winning the battle for Cook.

Cal also had to win out over early favorite Arkansas, where All-American teammate Walner Leandre committed last weekend when both players visited. Cook and Leandre teamed up to lead the Buccaneers to one of the nation's best defenses, giving up only 120 yards a game, including just 37 a game on the ground.

Cook with one of his five championship game sacks.

The 6-3/225 Cook stood out as a difference-maker on Blinn's 12-0 National Junior College Athletic Association championship squad –their first since 1996. Cook plays with a ferocity, coming off the edge or shooting gaps with cat-like speed. In Blinn's championship game, the speedy Cook utilized his 4.5 forty speed with an amazing 5 sacks on the day as Blinn defeated the nations #2 ranked JC, Pearl River CC, 19-6. Cook also caused a fumble that was picked up by teammate Damien Reed and run back for a 67 yard td. Cook totaled 13 sacks and 68 tackles on the year.

Cook also stood out in high school, earning 3rd team All-State honors for his Osceola HS squad in Seminole, FL in 2004 before heading out to Brenham, TX to play for Blinn. Cook also earned 1st team All-County honors as he compiled 18 tackles for loss, 14 sacks, 2 blocked punts and an amazing 8 forced fumbles his senior season. Cook will enter Cal this summer and will have 3 seasons play 2 for the Bears.

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