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Insider

RB Cook will make his mark at UF

7/9/2013

GAINESVILLE, Fla. -- This week, GatorNation writer Mike DiRocco, SEC blogger Edward Aschoff and former Florida and NFL offensive tackle Mike Pearson drafted their all-time Florida Gators football team. This, clearly, is no easy feat, but considering all of these players are finished with their playing career at the University of Florida, it's easy to select players based on success they already have had. But what about a player who has yet to suit up, or even sign with the Gators?

With that thought in mind, what committed player could end up getting drafted on this all-time Gators team in the future?

Of Florida's 11 verbal commitments, quarterback Will Grier (Davidson, N.C./Davidson Day), gets the most hype -- and deservedly so. After all, he is a record-setting quarterback and finished third in the Elite 11 final quarterback rankings. Grier's ridiculous stats, which includes throwing for 69 touchdowns with only six interceptions as a junior, are quite impressive, but would you be willing to select him in a future draft over Florida greats Danny Wuerffel, Steve Spurrier, Tim Tebow, Shane Matthews or Rex Grossman?

Grier has all the tools to be successful, but he has a monumental mountain to climb to reach the status of Florida's other great quarterbacks.

Florida running back Dalvin Cook (Miami/Central) has the best chance at being selected in a future all-time Florida draft. Obviously, like Grier, Cook always will have some stiff competition with the likes of Emmitt Smith, Fred Taylor, Errict Rhett, John L. Williams and Earnest Graham having carried the rock for the Florida offense in the past. But Cook will bring a different dimension to Florida that none of those previously listed guys did -- special teams.

Cook, in addition to being an all-around back, is a special teams standout, as well. As a junior, Cook rushed for 1,501 yards and 23 touchdowns on only 122 carries. That's an average of 12.3 yards per rush. Pretty impressive for a guy who splits carries with Joseph Yearby, a Miami commitment. He also returned two kicks for touchdowns and was close to breaking several other returns for touchdowns during the year.

One ESPN scout thinks Cook is more athletic than his highly ranked teammate.

"As talented as Cook is, he might not receive as much hype as his backfield counterpart -- Joseph Yearby -- but he should," the scout said. "Cook is a true home run threat at the RB position, and while he's not as complete of a back as Yearby, he has arguably better top-end speed and overall athleticism. While we feel he could develop into a fine DB at the next level, it might be hard for teams not to want to get the ball in his hands on offense."

With Matt Jones and Kelvin Taylor already on the roster, Cook won't be depended on to carry the load early on in his career and should help on special teams, both as a punt and kick returner. Cook possesses 4.4 40-yard-dash speed and will bring an element to the Florida offense that is lacking. With his breakaway speed, look for Cook to be used in Florida's offense with short passes, screens and reverses. Eventually he will be worked in to the normal rotation.

If this 5-foot-11, 196-pound back can stay healthy, look for Cook to have a big impact on the future of Florida football.