Prior to the 2021 season, senior running back James Cook was one of many players to announce that he would be returning for one final season at Georgia due to "unfinished business." However, looking back at what Cook has done for Georgia's offense, it is very clear that coming back to Georgia for one more season was one of the best decisions he made.
This season, Cook has 651 rushing yards on 107 attempts and 269 receiving yards on 25 receptions, which are career highs. He has also accumulated 11 touchdowns through the air and the ground, which is the most out of all players on the team that are not quarterbacks.
Cook is fresh off an incredible performance in the Orange Bowl in which he had four receptions for 112 receiving yards and 32 yards on the ground as well. One of those includes a 39-yard touchdown reception early in the fourth quarter that effectively served as the dagger in Michigan's championship hopes. The Miami, Florida native put on quite the show this season, and that trend needs to continue into Georgia's matchup against Alabama.
Cook is no stranger when it comes to making big plays against the Crimson Tide. Going back to the regular-season game back in 2020, Cook had an 82-yard touchdown reception that put Georgia up seven early in the second quarter. So while he did not have a stellar showing in this year's SEC Championship Game, it should not shy Georgia away from getting Cook heavily involved in the offense.
A key factor in taking down a team like Alabama is hitting explosive plays downfield. Cook provides Georgia with the ability to do so, especially in a one-on-one matchup on the outside. In addition, with Cook being one of Georgia's best dual-threat athletes, it keeps defenses on their toes, allowing offensive coordinator Todd Monken to utilize him in a multitude of ways.
Georgia has a lot of options when it comes to running backs on the depth chart, but for the national championship game, Cook needs to be at the top of that list. He has consistently shown up in big moments for the Bulldogs, and it doesn't get any bigger than the game that will be played on January 10th.
James Cook came back to take care of some unfinished business, or in other words, to win a national title, and he needs to be one of Georgia's primary options to help make sure the job gets finished this go around.
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