Houston Lamar cornerback Anthony Cook has long been a top target for Tom Herman and his staff and on Wednesday, their persistent pursuit paid off as the elite in-state product announced his commitment to the Texas Longhorns over the LSU Tigers and Ohio State Buckeyes on ESPNU.
“I just felt like that was the right decision for me and my family,” Cook told Rivals. “It’s not far from home — if I want to go home, I can go home — I like what Coach (Tom) Herman is doing with the program, I just felt like it was right.”
An early enrollee who will sign with the ‘Horns on Wednesday, as well, Cook originally planned to shut things down on October 30, but in a recruitment that featured no shortage of twists and turns, the U.S. Army All-American needed every bit of extra time to assure his decision was the right one.
After Ohio State owned the edge for much of his recruitment, Texas and LSU began to surge late as the Buckeyes seemingly faded from frontrunner to afterthought. Following his Sept. 29 official visit to Austin, Cook proclaimed Texas as the team to beat, but not surprisingly, nearby LSU and its ace recruiters in head coach Ed Orgeron and defensive coordinator Dave Aranda continued to make their push.
“I really was thinking LSU — it came down to the wire,” Cook said. “LSU was in the lead after my official visit. Actually, I was thinking about silently committing with them after that, but I thought, ‘Nah, I better wait.’ After waiting, talking with different coaches, my friends and my parents, we talked and thought that Texas was just the best place for me.”
What Texas offered, though, which LSU and Ohio State could not, is the opportunity to remain home and continue playing alongside longtime teammates in four-star wide receiver Al’vonte Woodard and four-star cornerback D’shawn Jamison, along with several other Houston-area prospects Cook has a relationship with.
Furthermore, a college-ready talent who emphasized the desire to play early and for a program that can send him to the NFL, Cook will arrive in the coming weeks capable of competing to replace former Houston Lamar teammate Holton Hill, who will bypass his senior season and turn pro.
“Cook will bring a very competitive edge with him. He’s technique sound and will work relentlessly to be the best player he can possibly be,” Houston Lamar defensive backs coach Theadis Reagins told Burnt Orange Nation.
An elite technician in coverage, Cook owns comparable upside to the talent he’ll aim to replace on the outside.
247Sports provided an in-depth evaluation of what the ‘Horns prized pledge provides:
“This is what a cover corner is supposed to look like. He not only has the hips and build of an elite level island corner Cook also has plus size at the position at around 6’0, a true rare combination of skills. He is still a bit skinny but is starting to really blow up frame wise as well and that has helped him catch the eye of pretty much every top program in the nation. He has a knack for making plays on the football and if you put up a 50-50 ball he is going to come down with it 75% of the time. He plays against good competition and comes from a program that has been known to produce some of the best defensive backs in the state and has competed strongly at every major camp event on the national level in the off-season, proving he matches up well with receivers who are already bigger and stronger.”
With Cook committed, Texas boasts arguably the top defensive back haul in recruiting history, as the ‘Horns also add five-star Angleton safety BJ Foster, four-star Cibolo Steele safety Caden Sterns, four-star Arp safety DeMarvion Overshown, four-star cornerback Jalen Green, and the aforementioned Jamison.
Furthermore, after Sam Ehlinger (No. 19) was highest-ranked in-state commit for Texas in 2017, the addition of Cook gives Herman pledges from the top five prospects in the state, six of the top seven, and 10 of the top 15. Among that bunch, only Foster ranks higher.
A 6’0, 168-pound talent, Cook is ranked as the nation’s No. 33 player, No. 5 cornerback and the No. 2 player in Texas, per the 247Sports Composite rankings.
Herman’s 2018 class now sits at No. 3 nationally with the addition of commit No. 19, according to the 247Sports Composite team rankings, following a monster day for Georgia.