Name: Malcolm Cook
School: Fork Union
24/7: 90, four stars; #22 S, VA #13
Rivals: 5.5, three stars; VA #26
Other offers: none
Malcolm Cook is easily one of the more interesting prospects on the commitment list. He counts as an under-the-radar sleeper, given that ESPN has not bothered to evaluate him and Scout doesn't even know he exists. (Happens a lot, with Scout.) And nobody besides UVA ever offered, although folks are a little nervous about Penn State since he took a visit there last week.
On the other hand, the gurus at Rivals and 24/7 are preaching the Gospel of Malcolm. It's probably because of how he's been playing this year. Actually it's definitely because of that. A four-star rating from 24/7 could well be matched by one from Rivals when they get around to updating him; at the very least, a bump from the standard-issue 5.5 is on the way. Cook's playmaking has been obvious. The most recent numbers I could find are from a month ago, when he already had 11 picks, 3 of them taken to the house, and he's forced a bunch of fumbles, too. Words like "program-changing" have been thrown around here, and I don't think they're kidding.
Position-wise, Cook's a safety, but it wouldn't completely shock me to see him grow into linebacker. He's a big broad-shouldered guy that already weighs 200 pounds. (Too big, and without the maneuverability for corner.) He'd need, like, 25-30 more to get to linebacker size, so don't go thinking I'm predicting this, but it is on the edges of possibility. But he'll be coming in as one of the bigger safeties in the program already, and ought to be able to find room for 10 pounds, easy. Speed is one of his biggest assets, which is impressive given his size; at the UVA camp, he was timed at 4.4 in the 40. I give you this number in case you care; I tend not to put any stock in 40 times unless they're electronic, not hand-timed, and there are a whole bunch of different players running in the same conditions for comparison's sake. I'll never run around going WOOOOO 4.4 FORTY but I'm not gonna pretend he's not fast, either.
We've been duped in the past by big stats in senior years, but if Cook is all that's advertised, he'll put serious pressure on the current safeties when he gets here. (Assuming he does get here; like I said, Penn State has people nervous. I don't think there's anything to be alarmed about, though.) Cook has one of the classic why-no-offers? flags: until this year he played for Armstrong in Richmond, a team that routinely gets its ass kicked. As a safety it's hard to make any impact on a lousy team; even a D-lineman might be able to strut his stuff since other teams have no choice but to try and block him, but safeties are easily avoided. I don't think he can come in right away and steal any starting jobs, but he's got potential to start off by further marginalizing Rijo Walker and Pablo Alvarez. If the hype is for real, he's all-ACC.
I promised Senior Seasons and here it is, along with a rundown of playoff positioning for everyone so involved.
Damascus 35, Northwood 12: Zach Bradshaw had a quiet day with three catches for 44 yards, but Damascus polished off an undefeated regular season to finish 10-0.
South Iredell 69, West Lincoln 15: LaChaston Smith had 13 carries, literally more than half of which wound up in the end zone. Smith had 191 yards rushing, and his 7 TDs are tied for second-most in an NC football game. By the way, he threw for one too. South Iredell is 10-2, and advances to the second round.
Ocean Lakes 60, Kellam 14: Corwin Cutler also helped wrap up an undefeated regular season, by throwing six touchdown passes. Ocean Lakes is 10-0.
Fork Union 42, Woodberry Forest 10: Malcolm Cook recovered a fumble, which is at least his fifth of the year, and FUMA took the Prep League regular season title. FUMA is 8-2.
Salisbury 31, Trinity Pawling 23 (Sadiq Olanrewaju) - Salisbury is 7-0.
Good Counsel 48, Archbishop Carroll 0 (Brendan Marshall, Kirk Garner, Andre Levrone) - OLGC is 9-1.
Potomac 19, Forest Park 0 (Donta Wilkins) - Potomac is 7-3.
Xavieran 21, BC High 17 (Jack McDonald) - BC High is 3-5.
A.L. Brown 41, North Forsyth 34 (Keeon Johnson) - Brown is 9-3 and advances in the playoffs.
Houston Westside 23, Houston Madison 0 (Hipolito Corporan) - Westside is 6-3.
Oscar Smith 42, King's Fork 35 (Zack Jones) - Oscar Smith is 8-2.
Collegiate 27, St. Christopher's 19 (Jack English) - St. Chris is 5-5.
Varina 21, Hanover 20 (Tim Harris) - Varina is 8-1.
The season status of our commitments is such:
-- 1 season is over (Jack English and St. Christopher's, who did not make the VISAA playoffs.)
-- 5 regular seasons are still going on. That would be Sadiq Olanrewaju, Jack McDonald, Brad Henson (though I confess I'm generally at a loss half the time to figure out what the heck is going on with his season; New Jersey teams are notoriously difficult to find info for), Hipolito Corporan, and, because Virginia has a silly convoluted playoff system, Tim Harris and Varina. They're playing for their playoff lives next weekend so even though they haven't technically made the playoffs yet, for all intents and purposes they've begun.
-- 7 teams will begin their playoff journeys this coming weekend. Good Counsel plays St. John's in the four-team WCAC tournament. FUMA goes against Benedictine in the VISAA playoffs. Ocean Lakes takes on Granby (fun fact: I once lived about a mile from Granby) and Bayside drew Oscar Smith, which means at least one of our players is going home. Gilman had a bye in their playoffs this past weekend and will play next weekend, and Damascus (Md.) starts their tournament against Urbana.
-- 1 team (Potomac) earned a playoff bye and will wait a week to learn their opponent.
-- 2 teams, both the ones in North Carolina, advanced to the second round.
A couple of basketball bits to quick-wrap this up. One, George Mason suspended a couple of players for a few games, which of course means they won't be on the court against UVA Friday night. I don't think either of them would've started, but they might've been the first off the bench. Any hit to their depth is a help given the fact that we're not bringing any point guards to this fight. Also, Joe Lunardi, who is typically down on UVA's tourney chances (and more often than not maddeningly right) has UVA as the eighth team out of his final preseason bracket. I'd call that encouraging; for one thing, it means he considers UVA the sixth-best (or sixth-seeded) team in the ACC, one notch above the preseason media poll that had us seventh. For another, that's obviously not that many spots in between us and an actual berth. A surprise here and there and we could be looking at a tourney year when it was least expected.