Welcome back to our Freshman Film Room series where we are taking a look at the highlight tape of the recruiting class of 2023! Today, we will check out the tape of running back Cam Cook out of Round Rock. Cook was a 4-star back and rated #15 at his position in the country by On3. Cook brings a dynamic playmaking ability, and he has great vision and patience as a runner. He’s one of those guys that coaches just find a way to get the ball in his hands and let him make a play. If you want to check out more you can find his highlights here.
The first play we’ll check out today is arguably Cook’s best from last season. This looks like it is supposed to be stretch to the right, but the offensive line lets 2 guys through completely unblocked. Cook has to stick his foot immediately after the exchange with the quarterback and change directions where he is met by the backside backer and safety. Cooks sticks his foot again, making 4 defenders miss at once. Another cutback towards the sideline and it’s a footrace to the endzone.
Here we get a zone left look. One of the things I like about this play is Cook’s ball security. Right as he hits the hole, one of the defensive linemen gets his hand out and on the ball. Cook does a great job holding on and continuing to run hard. The backside corner actually catches Cook at about the 10, but because he is so hard to tackle Cook ends up dragging him into the endzone.
This play looks like zone right, but Cook does not get much help from his offensive line. The twist on the left side isn’t picked up, and the tight end gets beat across his face right off the snap. Cook has to stick his foot and change directions immediately after the exchange again. He makes the free rusher off the edge miss and bounces it to the opposite side of the field. Cook then meets up with the same cornerback that chased him down earlier in the game and runs him smooth over... Out of bounds for a 10 yard gain in what probably should’ve been a 4 yard loss.
This clip looks like zone left, and once again Cook has to make a cut as soon as the ball hits his hands. He bounces this one outside and sets up the safety running the alley. Hard stick off the left foot and he’s off. Then Cook shows off his vision as the corner has gotten off his block, so he sticks his right foot and makes the last defender miss.
By now you’re probably realizing that Cam Cook was good for at least one of these a game it seemed. We get a stretch right look, and Cook makes a defensive lineman miss in the backfield. Once he gets to the edge he turns on the jets and in the blink of an eye, he’s behind the safety. Another touchdown.
I honestly have no idea what to call this play. The backfield action looks like outside zone or buck. The offensive line looks like a mixture of outside zone and buck. The play side guard doesn’t pull, but I digress. On a look like this, running backs are taught they have 3 options once they get the ball. They can bounce it outside, bend it backside, or do what Cook does here and “bang” it. The biggest thing is that the back must be patient and wait for the play to develop, then make his decision about which of the 3 choices is the best option.
In this clip we get one of my favorite plays: the running back screen. Cook slips out of the backfield and makes the catch. He does a great job of using his first blocker, and then it’s all Cook as he cuts back across the entire field. Cook makes 2 nice juke moves in the open field to force multiple misses, and then he outruns the last defender to the endzone.
This clip is every special team coach’s worst nightmare. The kicking team attempts to pooch it so that Cook doesn’t get the chance to return, but the kick isn’t high enough. As we’ve seen over and over again today, Cook does a great job of sticking his foot and changing direction to make defenders miss. When he reverses field it’s just a footrace and we know Cook wins that.
As if 1 special teams touchdown wasn’t enough, Cook had to add a punt return for a touchdown later in that same game. The punter outkicks his coverage here, Cook breaks the first attempted tackle and isn’t touched again on his way to the endzone.
This last one may be a little difficult to see, but I had to include it. Cook is under center for the QB sneak to try and get the first down on what I assume is 4th and short. Both lines smash into each other and Cook gets lost in the mix. Multiple defenders throw their hands up to start celebrating like they made a stop, but Cook squeezed through on the right side of the screen and turned the QB sneak into a 60 yard touchdown run.
According to MaxPreps, Cook rushed for 1,589 yards on 170 carries in his senior year, and that was for a team that had almost no passing game to speak of. A lot of the plays we looked at today Cook made something out of nothing. His versatility as an athlete means he could be used in a plethora of ways at TCU. Cook will bring excitement because you never really know what will happen when he gets his hands on the ball. He’ll need to put on a little size and strength, and with some time he could become a big contributor for the Horned Frogs offense.