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Tuesday, July 30, 2013
RB Cook enjoys Texas, still solid with UF

By Max Olson

Considering he’d never set foot in the Lone Star State before Monday, Miami Central four-star running back Dalvin Cook didn’t exactly know what to expect going into his unofficial visit to Texas this week.

The Longhorns hosted Cook on Tuesday and made a strong impression on the No. 23 recruit in the ESPN 300.

“It went good and smooth,” he said. “It’s a great place, better than I thought it was going to be. I saw a lot of good things there.”

The 5-foot-11, 196-pound back has been committed to Florida since April. But as fun a time as he had Tuesday, he said the visit did not change that pledge.

“I’m still solid,” Cook said. “I’m still 100 percent with Florida.”

But Cook isn’t afraid to admit the visit to Austin with his grandmother was an eye-opener.

First-year Texas running backs coach Larry Porter played a big role in convincing Cook to make the trip, and Cook enjoyed getting to know Longhorns coach Mack Brown better.

“Oh man, that’s one of the best coaches I’ve ever met,” Cook said. “He’s a great person. There really isn’t much more I can say about it, he’s just great. We had a long talk, and Mack just talked about how bad they want me and how bad they need me.”

Porter had a similar message during their time together Tuesday. The Longhorns have pledges from ESPN 300 back Donald Catalon (Houston/Eisenhower) and three-star D'Onta Foreman (Texas City, Texas/Texas City), but Porter said he has high hopes for Cook.

“Coach Porter, he’s a great person with a great personality and a great sense of humor,” Cook said. “That man talked about a lot of good things. He said they really need to recruit some South Florida talent and he just feels like I’m that guy for them.”

Cook got a full tour of the Texas facilities, spent time with coaches and checked out campus. He also received a thorough presentation on what he’d be in for if he ended up flipping to Texas.

“It’s Running Back U. They put out a lot of running backs,” Cook said. “They showed me a little chart of their NFL running backs, and that’s what I’m trying to be. I’m trying to get to the next level.”

That presentation impressed him, but there’s no disputing the highlight of the day for Cook.

Included on his itinerary for the day was meeting with former Longhorn legend Earl Campbell. Cook definitely wasn’t expecting that cameo.

“He’s a great guy and he loves the game of football,” he said. “He’s one of the greatest backs to ever play. He told me Texas is a great place and told me whatever I do, just be happy with it and go for it. I really liked what he had to say.”

Texas gave Cook a lot to think about on his flight home, and by the time he was back in Miami on Tuesday night, he was feeling confident Texas would be a good fit for his talents.

“I could turn around the program and do great things with the Longhorns,” he said.

Cook isn’t planning any more visits before the season. While he’d like to see a Texas home game this fall, he hasn’t decided whether UT will receive an official visit.

He wants to be careful going forward and respect his pledge to the Gators. Cook knew showing up for the visit to Texas probably didn’t please coach Will Muschamp and his staff.

“They’re probably always worried when you’re talking about one of your top players going to see another school,” he said. “They were obviously worried.”

For now, he said, Florida has nothing to worry about. He’s still solid with his pledge. But he did enjoy what the Longhorns had to offer.

“They helped themselves a lot,” Cook said. “I was just glad to go out there and see the place for myself with my own eyes.”