The early signing period beginning on Wednesday figures to have its share of suspense, and one school that could be firmly in the middle of it all is Florida State.
New Seminoles coach Willie Taggart is busy making waves on the recruiting trail, as evidenced by the crop of visitors he was able to assemble in Tallahassee last weekend — which was the final chance for schools to host players before the early signing period.
One player whose presence on campus set social media and message boards ablaze was 4-star Miami Central running back and current Georgia commit James Cook.
The 5-foot-11 1/2, 181-pound rusher initially committed to the Seminoles in March 2016 before reopening his recruitment in July. He subsequently committed to the Bulldogs in October, but should Kirby Smart and his staff be worried about potentially losing out on Cook to the Seminoles?
4-star UGA RB commit James Cook is on campus at #FSU currently. He’s a former FSU commit. Willie Taggart’s first hire, Telly Lockette, was the head coach at Miami Central before he got into the college game.
— Wayne McGahee III (@WayneMcGaheeIII) December 16, 2017
The short answer is maybe. However, if history is any indicator, the best way to answer it is to say that nothing will be final until Cook signs a letter of intent or enrolls at the school of his choice.
His final choice of whether to stay committed to Georgia or flip back to the Seminoles is complicated because of his family’s ties to the Florida State program.
Of course, his older brother, Dalvin Cook, just finished a career at Florida State in which he smashed all kinds of records and bolted to the NFL after becoming the school’s all-time leading rusher. His recruitment was a whirlwind that saw him commit to three different schools before deciding on Florida State at the end of the process.
But James is nearing the conclusion of his own recruitment because he plans on signing on Wednesday, according to Tomahawk Nation’s Curt Weiler. Weiler reported the decision will come down to either the Seminoles or the Bulldogs.
Varondria Burnett, James’ mother, likely will be consulted before a decision is made.
As detailed by DawgNation’s Jeff Sentell, Burnett described her son’s visit to Florida State as “nothing serious.”
Taggart made the first official hire of his coaching staff last week in tight ends coach Telly Lockette — who was the head coach at Miami Central from 2008 to ’12. During that time, he coached Dalvin and has known the family for a long time.
“Coach Lockette asked and [James] went,” Burnett told Sentell. “We’ve been a part of FSU for three years. Coach Lockette has also meant a lot to Dalvin and Miami Central. No big deal.”
Will there really be a final decision to make for James or has it already been made and was this nothing other than a courtesy visit?
There may be mixed signals coming from his camp, but regardless of what happens, it appears as if the answer for Cook will come soon.
For now, both schools likely are left to patiently wait to see if the younger Cook chooses to continue where his older brother left off in Tallahassee or makes his own path in Athens.