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Thursday, July 25, 2013
ESPN 300 Florida commit set to visit Texas

By Max Olson

Texas hosts its final big recruiting event of the summer on Saturday with the Texas Stampede, but another big-time visitor is expected to visit campus on Monday.

Four-star running back Dalvin Cook, the No. 4 running back in the country and No. 22 overall in the ESPN 300, is planning an unofficial visit with his family to check out the Longhorns’ campus on Monday and Tuesday.

The Miami Central back is currently committed to Florida and has been since April after originally making a pledge to Clemson. Several programs -- including Miami, USC and Alabama -- have continued to recruit the 5-foot-11, 196-pound Under Armour All-American. Now Texas is in the mix, too.

“I’m always excited to travel and see new things,” Cook said. “I’m looking forward to meeting Mack Brown. Coach [Larry] Porter and I always chop it up and talk, and I really want to meet Mack Brown, see the whole facilities and tour the campus and all that, plus getting familiar with the people.”

The biggest motivation for making the trip? Cook has developed a strong relationship with Porter, the new Texas running backs coach, during this spring and summer.

“I just feel I have to give him a good shot to recruit me,” he said. “I met Coach Porter when he got to Texas and it’s been a great experience with him recruiting me. I like him as a coach. He’s a great person overall and his background speaks for itself.”

Cook said he’s never visited the state of Texas, but he is familiar with the Longhorns and their history of producing NFL running backs.

He also likes Porter’s track record of sending backs to the pros during his previous stint at LSU. The first-year assistant offered Cook earlier this year and convinced him a visit was a must if he has any interest in Texas.

“He’s put a lot of running backs at the level I’m trying to get to,” Cook said. “That’s my No. 1 goal.”

Porter has been selling Cook on Texas’ potent rushing attack and commitment to running the ball. That got his attention, too.

“I watched them when they had Ricky Williams and a bunch more backs,” he said. “They have a great one now, Johnathan Gray. I watched a couple of his games. They get out there and run the ball downhill.”

As a junior, Cook rushed for 1,452 yards and scored 21 touchdowns while splitting carries with fellow ESPN 300 prospect Joseph Yearby, the No. 3 ranked back who’s committed to Miami (Fla).

Texas has pledges from two running backs for the 2014 class, ESPN 300 back Donald Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower) and three-star D'Onta Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City) but has continued to pursue out-of-state options including No. 1 overall recruit Leonard Fournette (New Orleans/St. Augustine) and Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom).

Cook also recently attended a Florida State camp, but he insists things are still solid between him and the Gators. He’s planning to attend UF’s Friday Night Lights event this weekend before traveling to Texas.

“I’m just being open right now and looking at everybody and weighing my options,” Cook said. “I am really interested in Texas.”