In recent memory, Lamar High School in Houston has been very friendly to the Texas Longhorns during the recruiting process, especially to its defensive backfield. During the 2014 and 2015 recruiting cycles, the Longhorns secured commitments from Lamar defensive standouts John Bonney and Holton Hill, who have both carved out playing time and contributed in their first years on the 40 Acres.
Before that, Mack Brown found Lamar defensive back Rod Babers, who went on to star for Texas, earning All-Big 12 honors and was later selected in the NFL Draft. Now, Longhorn coaches and fans hope that the 'Lamar to Texas Connection' will continue with talented 2018 defensive back Anthony Cook.
Cook enters his junior season as one of the highest-rated defensive backs in the country. As a sophomore, Cook capped an impressive sophomore season, which featured six interceptions, by earning All-District honors. With impressive quickness and physical tools, Cook has garnered national attention for his play already, particularly during summer camps where he shines in one-on-one match ups. Cook recently traveled to Atlanta for the Rivals Five-Star Challenge, where he believes he separated himself from other defensive backs in his class.
"I think I made it known that I’m one of the top DBs in my class" Cook said in an interview with BON. "I went against everybody regardless if they were in my class or not, so I think I proved that I’m the best defensive back in my class"
The recruiting process, in turn, has heated up for the rising junior. Cook has already received close to 25 scholarship offers from major programs around the country. Alabama, Florida State, LSU, TCU, Clemson, and Georgia are just some of the schools who have already shown interest and offered the 2018 prospect. Earlier this month, Charlie Strong joined other top programs in offering the Lamar standout.
Cook maintains that no school stands out to him this early, but as more schools join the race for the 2018 standout, he will begin to seriously consider his options soon. As for what that means for Texas, Cook recognizes that the offer from the Texas coaching staff meant a lot.
"[Texas] was a big offer, and definitely one of my bigger offers," Cook said. "Texas doesn’t offer early, so to receive an offer from them was a blessing,"
Echoing the opinion of many other prospects across multiple classes, Cook believes that Strong is building something special in Austin.
"You know, Charlie Strong is bringing back the old DBU." Cook said.
With glowing remarks about Texas and Strong's early efforts, it seems the Longhorns fit in nicely for Cook's future plans as he begins to make decisions. But perhaps an ace in the hole for the Longhorns will be that they already have two Lamar players in their defensive backfield, which could impact Cook's decision.
"It has a little [impact] because to play with guys you’re familiar with -- that’s a good feeling," Cook said.
With so many teams in the hunt, that little familiarity may provide the 'Horns a leg up in the competition. However, Cook mentioned he does not have current plans to visit Austin in the near future. For now, Cook's recruitment is wide open, but he mentioned that he has plans to visit Georgia, Alabama, and TCU later this summer.
Since the 6'1, 168-pounder recently visited for a Texas summer camp in early June and already has a positive impression of the Longhorns, there's no immediate cause for concern as Cook gets out to see some other top programs this summer.
For a look at Cook's impressive play, check his sophomore highlight reel below.