Cook Conforms to Wide Receiver Position
It was the Wildcats' opening night, and, after a long journey getting there, it was Cook's first time on the field as a Wildcat.
A 2013 transfer into the program from Hutchinson Community College, Cook spent last season on the sidelines redshirting and preparing himself for moments like his 22-yard, third-quarter touchdown in the Wildcats' 55-16 win over Stephen F. Austin.
That's a night Cook will never forget.
"I always wanted to be a Wildcat when I was growing up," the Louisburg, Kansas, native explained. "So to get that score in my first game, it was pure excitement."
Though after the game Cook modestly credited the touchdown to Wildcat quarterback Jake Waters, there's no doubt his outstanding catch was one only a talented, athletic receiver could make.
"Every day I've seen him get a little bit better and a little bit better," Waters said after the Stephen F. Austin win. "That catch, it was that was a great catch. I kind of just put it up for grabs, it was a free play and for him to come down like that, that was just a great catch."
While Cook has proven talented at the wide receiver position, it's not exactly what he came to K-State for.
Cook came to K-State as a quarterback after he led the Hutchinson Blue Dragons to a 19-5 record during his two seasons (2011-12) with the team.
"You like to have athletic quarterbacks, and guys that are good athletes can do a lot of different things," explained K-State head coach Bill Snyder about Cook's transition. "So the transition wasn't that difficult for him, it truly wasn't. I think he picked things up well and that's a big part of it. He's athletic enough. Its' just being able to understand the nuances of the position. A quarterback has a good understanding (of the receiver position) because he interacts with them constantly, day in and day out at meetings or on the practice field. So he had a good understanding of what receivers were capable of and responsible for."
Cook explained he decided to make the transition to wide receiver for K-State in December 2013 after Wildcat co-offensive coordinator Del Miller tried him out in the position during K-State's preparation for the 2013 Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl.
"He said, 'Why don't you go run some routes with the receivers today?'" explained Cook. "It was during bowl preparation, I think, and that's what I did. They took notice. They liked it. We tried it out again in the spring and went from there."
While the transition was a jump, it wasn't all too difficult for Cook, who also played the position at Hutchinson Community College before playing quarterback. With knowledge of how both positions work, Cook uses his past experiences to his advantage while one the field.
Though the transition back to wide receiver has been different than what he expected, he doesn't seem to mind - all Cook wants to do is get on the field, help his team and play.
"When I came in, they had me at quarterback, and when I moved they told me I had to work hard," Cook said. "I just wanted to get on the field, and I found that that was the quickest way for me. My hard work paid off. They gave me an opportunity and I just tried to make the most of it."
Throughout the past few months of training with the K-State wide receivers, Cook has stood out as a hard worker to his teammates.
"Kody changed from being a quarterback to now being a receiver, and all we've been seeing is his hard work and dedication," explained fellow wide receiver Tyler Lockett. "On the field, he's confident. He knows what he's doing, and he listens to coach (Andre) Coleman. Whether it was the spring or throughout fall camp, he was really going out there working on his technique part of the game."
Two games into the 2014 season, Cook has caught four passes for 50 yards to go along with his season-opening touchdown, and he is ready to continue working towards an even brighter future as a Wildcat receiver.
"Receiver is probably my favorite position. I like it. I like the competitive aspect of it," said Cook. "The receivers, we're like a family. We look out for each other and we take care of each other."