• Player Card: Jonathan Cook
• Class of 2013: Nebraska recruits
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LINCOLN — Nebraska plucked the 14th commitment for the 2013 recruiting class from SEC country when Spanish Fort, Ala., cornerback Jonathan Cook gave his verbal pledge to the Huskers on Thursday.
The 6-foot, 185-pounder — a consensus three-star prospect — picked NU over Ole Miss and a grayshirt offer from Alabama, his boyhood favorite. The Crimson Tide asked Cook to enroll in January 2014. Nebraska wanted Cook for next year. Advantage: Huskers.
“I didn't really like the grayshirt,” Cook said. “And I like Nebraska.”
Specifically new NU secondary coach Terry Joseph, who scouted the Southeast as Tennessee's recruiting coordinator. That region apparently included Spanish Fort, a Gulf Coast suburb of Mobile.
“Coach Joseph's a down-to-earth guy,” Cook said.
Nebraska started sending mail to Cook — who said he finished with 65 tackles and six interceptions last year — in the spring. But Joseph and defensive coordinator John Papuchis turned up the heat in the last month with a scholarship offer. In the last month, high-profile Husker corner targets Jalen Ramsey and Ross Douglas committed to USC and Michigan, respectively.
Cook might have committed earlier, he said, but his parents were out of town. Once they returned, they talked with NU's coaches and Cook chose to pull the trigger.
“The fan base, they got a good defense, and I think I fit in pretty good,” said Cook, listing the reasons why he committed.
Cook still plans on taking his official visits; one of them will be to Memorial Stadium for Nebraska's Oct. 27 game against Michigan. And there's always the chance Alabama revises its grayshirt offer.
But right now, Cook said he plans to start working on recruiting his Spanish Fort teammate, 6-foot-1, 175-pound wide receiver Deon Johnson, a speedy four-star prospect who committed to Alabama in April.
“I'm going to ask him to come with me,” Cook said.
He's the only true corner commit thus far for the 2013 class, since Baldwin, La., athlete Tre'Vell Dixon decommitted in July. Youngstown (Ohio) Cardinal Mooney safety Marcus McWilson and Sioux Falls (S.D.) Washington athlete Nathan Gerry both project to safety, while Auburn transfer Jonathan Rose had not yet made a decision as of Thursday night on whether to play at Nebraska, according to his father, Charles Rose.
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ESPN, 247Sports, Rivals and Scout all rate Cook as a three-star recruit. Rivals gave Cook his highest position ranking at No. 25; Scout was lowest at No. 75. Cook got offers from Mississippi State, Louisville and Minnesota, among others.
“I don't think I have a weakness,” said Cook, who also plays wide receiver and returns kicks. “I'm good at being a corner. Just getting better as a corner every day.”
Spanish Fort plays in Class 5A — second-highest in Alabama — but Cook said the 5A teams in south Alabama tend to be better than the 6A teams.
Cook confirmed he was one of 10 Spanish Fort players who served an Alabama High School Athletic Association suspension last year for their role in an on-field brawl against rival Gulf Shores. He and teammates left the sideline bench area during the fight — an automatic violation. Cook said he finished the season without incident.
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