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High school junior commits to Spartans

April 26, 2001

Unlike most 17-year-old high school juniors, offensive tackle Kyle Cook is sure he knows where he’d like to attend college.

The Dakota High student, from Macomb, Mich., verbally committed April 18 to play football for MSU in 2002. He is MSU’s second early verbal commitment, after defensive back Darran Ware from California declared in early April.

Although Virginia, Duke and Michigan also recruited him, Cook said MSU’s campus, coaching staff, facilities and town made his early decision simple.

“At Michigan, I didn’t like the campus and I think the Clara Bell Smith (Student-Athlete Academic Center) is excellent,” Cook said. “I also got a chance to be around coaches and watch practice, and I like how Coach (Jeff) Stoutland works.

“If you do something wrong he tells you, and he commends you if you do something right.”

MSU coaches and officials are not allowed to comment on recruits until they sign a National Letter of Intent.

But Dakota head coach Mike Giannone said from what he’s heard, MSU is smiling at the thought of Cook on its offensive line.

“I didn’t think they were going to offer him this early,” Giannone said. “But I’ve been talking to coaches at places like Virginia and Duke, and they want him extremely bad. I don’t know college football well enough to say what’s out there, but the coaches seem extremely happy that they’ve got him.”

Cook is a 6-foot-4, 280-pound starter who made the Macomb Area Conference’s First Team, Macomb County’s First Team and First Team Metro East. He was also honorable mention on the All Metro Team.

Giannone describes Cook as a two-way player who played both offensive and defensive tackle, and will move to the guard position in the fall.

But Midwestern recruiting expert Bill Kurelic said to expect Cook to make an impact as an offensive lineman in a few years.

“He’s one of the top offensive linemen in the state of Michigan, with good size and excellent strength,” Kurelic said. “Offensive linemen take a couple years to develop, and very few offensive linemen play as true freshmen.”

As a starter since his sophomore year, Cook also has leadership beyond his years, Giannone said.

“He’s a great leader with his toughness and quickness,” Giannone said. “I don’t think he has reached all his potential as way of strength, but he’s really quick off the ball.”

Cook’s been watching MSU football games from the sidelines for two years, and MSU made him feel most comfortable, Giannone said.

“I asked him, ‘Where would you go to school, without considering football?’” Giannone said. “He likes the campus, he likes the education program he wants to get into, and he has a lot of friends there.”

The combination of Ware and Cook are a pretty nice start for MSU’s 2002 recruiting class, Kurelic said.

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