Towson University’s football program made a big impression on Meade’s Niquekko Cook when he visited last summer, and the Tigers’ stock kept rising all through this football season.
Last week, the All-Metro defensive end committed to Towson. Saturday afternoon, he will be hunkered down at his grandmother’s house watching his future team play for a national championship when the Tigers (10-2) meet North Dakota State for the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision title.
“They’re a winning team. That’s always good,” Cook said. “Playing for the FCS, that was big. I think every high school player wants to go to a winning team and they’re playing for a national championship.
In helping the Mustangs to a second straight Class 4A state semifinal appearance in the fall, Cook had 78 tackles and 8.5 sacks and also blocked two field goals. He also had offers from Massachusetts, Stony Brook and Old Dominion.
Meade coach Rich Holzer said Cook – 6 feet 5, 245 pounds – is a perfect fit for Towson’s defense.
“I think he’s prototypically a pro-style 4-3 defensive end,” Holzer said. “He’s an old-type guy like Reggie White, Jevon Kearse and Michael McCrary that line up on the outside shoulder of an offensive tackle and just get after the quarterback. That’s what he’s going to do in college. That’s what he’s built for. We run a different style defense and he was really playing out of position, but going to Towson, he’ll be playing where he should be.”
Cook will make his official visit on Jan. 24, but he found plenty to like on on unofficial visit last summer.
“They have a really nice stadium,” Cook said,” and it seemed like they kept the team together and in line and the coaches were really nice. Then, [in the fall] they were a winning team and I started getting closer to the coaches. That really put them over the top.”
Monday, Cook played in the National Underclassmen Combine Senior All-America Game in Myrtle Beach, S.C. Although his North team lost to the South, 26-16, Cook had a great time.
“It was really fun," he said. "I got a decent amount of playing time, because the other people had to play too, of course, so we rotated in. I met new players, coaches, some NFL players.”
Cook said he plans work toward a career in sports medicine or sports management at Towson, but for now, he’s just wishing he could be in Frisco, Texas, tomorrow for the title game.
“I just want to see them come out victorious.”