What’s left to be said about FSU’s Dalvin Cook?
The junior is among the best running backs in college football and is among the preseason favorites for the Heisman Trophy. Cook led the ACC with 1,691 yards and 19 touchdowns on 229 attempts, while averaging 7.4 yards per carry.
But what makes him so great is his home-run ability.
Cook can turn a small crease into a long sprint. NFL.com media analyst Daniel Jeremiah compared his game to Chris Johnson’s during his time at East Carolina.
“He doesn’t quite have the same top speed as Johnson (Cook should run in the high 4.3s/low 4.4s in the 40-yard dash) but he has similar suddenness and explosiveness. He can play on all three downs and is a threat to score from anywhere on the field,” Jeremiah wrote.
Cook recorded 244 yards and a touchdown on 24 receptions. FSU ranked in the bottom half among ACC teams with 26 total sacks allowed, including an average of two per game. While that doesn’t add to why he’s a great runner, it does give him the opportunity to get more reps and stay on the field, rather than make it obvious that he’ll only participate on running plays.
But let’s dig deeper into Cook’s big-play ability, shall we? Here’s a look at some of his biggest runs from the 2015 season and some analysis of each play.
74-yard touchdown vs. South Florida (Sept. 12)
Cook started his sophomore campaign with a 156-yard, two-touchdown performance against Texas State in FSU’s season opener and followed that up with a big performance against South Florida. He recorded 266 yards and three touchdowns on 30 rushing attempts, including the 74-yard run shown above.
Cook displays the vision and speed to see and expose the hole at the line of scrimmage and turn a first down into a touchdown by bouncing off of tackles in the secondary. There are at least three tackles that would’ve brought down most backs, but not Cook, who has that “freight train-like” combination of speed and strength, despite his compact stature.
72-yard touchdown vs. Miami (Oct. 10)
Cook’s 72-yard option run against Miami is just pure speed. Quarterback Everett Golston made a smart read by pitching the ball to the star back, who turned up field and displayed his top-end speed.
Unlike his run against South Florida, Cook was poised to score the second he touched the ball in this 70-plus-yard run against the Hurricanes.
54-yard touchdown vs. Louisville (Oct. 17)
Cook made Louisville’s defense look silly during this 54-yard touchdown on Oct. 17. He turned the corner to beat the defender at the line of scrimmage and turned up field for the first down. At the marker, Cook was surrounded by six defenders and managed to break four tackles before crossing the end zone.
Seriously, this looks like a video game run on the easiest difficulty. There’s no way a player should be able to break that many consecutive tackles and blow past an ACC defense as easily as Cook did.
75-yard touchdown at Clemson (Nov. 7)
This was one of Cook’s most impressive run of his sophomore campaign because it came against the ACC’s best team and eventual College Football Playoff finalist Clemson on the road. Once again, the 5-foot-11 back hit the hole magnificently and broke a would-be tackle just before passing the first down marker.
He displayed breakaway speed in the open field and blows past the Clemson coverage. Only cornerback Cordrea Tankersley came close to making a goal line tackle after the initial contact and even that wasn’t enough to prevent the sophomore from scoring.
The runs above are simply just a few examples of why Cook is one of the best running backs in the country. It’s easy to predict that we’ll see a few more highlights out of FSU’s star back in 2016-17.