Dalvin Cook warmed up in his No. 4 jersey before Miami Central’s game against Daytona Beach Mainland on Friday.
Just before walking up as a team captain for the coin toss, Cook was wearing a different number.
Cook donned the No. 3 jersey worn by teammate and close friend Joseph Yearby, who broke his left fibula in Central’s game just a week ago.
“Nobody really knew until I switched and came out the locker room,” said Cook, a University of Florida commitment, before pacing Central with 73 yards on the ground via 22 carries in a 28-15 win.
It was the ultimate tribute Cook could have paid Yearby, a University of Miami running back commit who shed tears several times throughout their last game as high school seniors at Traz Powell Stadium.
After the game, Cook took a few minutes to himself on the bench with a towel over his head to realize what was happening.
“I was just embracing the moment,” Cook said. “We’re going to states four times in a row and it’s kind of a crazy feeling. It’s my last time out here on this turf. “I sat down and really thought about it and I’m going to miss playing with Joe and them guys man. [They’re] my brothers.”
In hopes of finding some clarity with his college decision, Cook is currently on an official visit to the University of Miami on Saturday and Sunday.
Despite being committed to UF since April, Cook has taken an open approach to his recruiting in hopes of finding where his heart is.
In the past week, Cook has signed financial grant-in-aid applications with UM, UF and Florida State, guaranteeing a fulfilled scholarship without the binding nature National Letters of Intent provide. The applications, however, allow those schools to have unlimited contact with a player.
Cook had in-home visits with UM coach Al Golden, UF defensive backs coach Travaris Robinson, and LSU defensive backs coach Corey Raymond and offensive coordinator Cam Cameron last week, and plans to see Golden, FSU coach Jimbo Fisher, UF coach Will Muschamp, Texas coach Mack Brown, and Arkansas defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and linebackers coach Randy Shannon this week.
Below are some quotes that didn’t make Saturday’s story from Cook regarding his "brothers."
On Yearby and the conversation that led to Cook paying him homage: “Talking to him is always good. Just talking to him period. That’s my brother and we can talk about a lot of stuff.”
On his relationship with former Miami Central star and current FSU running back Devonta Freeman: “I talk to Devonta all the time and he says [I should] do what’s best for me. He’s like a big brother to me so he’s going to support me wherever I go. It’s just like him and [current UM running back] Duke [Johnson] have a great relationship and they at two different schools. So he said he’s going to support me wherever I go.”
On his relationship with Homestead wide receiver Ermon Lane, whom Cook was instrumental in recruiting to UF: “We built a bond where we can talk about anything. When you [are] brothers, you [are] brothers. I just told Ermon we’re going to be brothers for life. We’re brothers for life and once you’re together, we’re together. I just tell him, ‘You just got to make a decision for yourself and I just got to make a decision for me.’ I just got to better my situation.”
Cook plans to make a final college decision after Central’s Class 6A state championship game against Seffner Armwood in Orlando next Saturday.