Time to Cook Up a Plan: Can Ex-UW Receiver Become Starting Safety?

Dan Raley

Alex Cook has nearly one of everything for the University of Washington football team.

He has a lone reception.

At the end of the 2018 home opener against North Dakota, Cook hauled in a 26-yarder from since-departed Jake Haener and was shoved out of bounds, picking up a first down and setting up a final score in the UW's 45-3 victory.

He has a single start as a Husky.

With the receiving corps in state of flux, Jordan Chin and Chin somewhat surprisingly were in the opening lineup at wide receivers against Ohio State in the 2019 Rose Bowl.

He's played on offense, defense and specials teams for the UW.

One of everything. 

However, Cook no doubt is ready to quit collecting unusual stuff and do something far more predictable. 

Like draw steady playing time as a starting UW safety, where he landed last season, and quit floating through the roster.

"There's going to be some tough decisions," UW defensive-backs coach Will Harris said. "Alex Cook is going to be a safety for us. Getting that year under his belt, after coming over from the offensive side, he's going to show tremendous growth."

The 6-foot-1, 202-pound junior was a two-way player for the Sheldon High Huskies in Sacramento, California.

OK, he has two of some things.

He went from Huskies to Huskies. 

He chose the UW over teams such as California, Colorado, Oregon, UCLA and a host of others. 

"I always wanted to come to Washington," Cook said. "It didn't matter which side of the ball I played on."

He initially spoke with Jimmy Lake during the recruiting process, but the Husky scholarship offer presented to him came from former offensive coordinator Bush Hamdan. That made him an offensive player. 

 Yet coming out of that Rose Bowl, where he didn't catch anything, Cook faced a position change. The coaches encouraged it. The Huskies, after losing four of five secondary starters, were short of safeties. 

"I loved playing receiver but defense is a natural thing for me," he said. "I just wanted to play at this point."

He appeared in all 13 games for the Huskies i 2019, mostly on special teams, where he was twice singled out as player of the game.

The UW played and started true freshmen Cam Williams and Asa Turner at safety alongside now NFL-bound Myles Bryant. The position area is far from set. 

The last player to change sides of the ball for the Huskies was Will Dissly, moving from defensive end to tight end. That appeared to work out just fine, as Dissly now plays in the NFL for the Seattle Seahawks.

Cook will settle for getting into the conversation, mixing it up in the competition and making a breakthrough at safety. Twelve to 13 starts would be welcome.

Enough of this one of everything stuff.

SUMMARY: He's versatile enough for the Huskies, making a position change, but it's hard to tell if he's starting material. 

GRADE (From 1 to 5): Cook gets a 2.5. He's at the point where he either makes it happen at safety or he spends two more seasons covering punts and kickoffs. It's up to him.

Comments (6)
No. 1-5
SI Mike Martin
SI Mike Martin

He was smart to switch over to the defense early on and not wait to make the switch. He's versatile and unselfish and has the size that he can lineup anywhere in the defensive backfield. He's just a junior and there's not much film on the guy. I think that he could have used another spring to his benefit.

Trev197
Trev197

He is a talented player. He is going to be competing with some younger guys who showed flashes of brilliance last year.

Olystubbies
Olystubbies

Cook is a perfect example of quality athletes the staff have brought in. The depth and competition at each position is really impressive

SI Mike Martin
SI Mike Martin

His frame could have him being another enforcer back there.

Dan Raley
Dan Raley

Editor

Safety is wide open. Turner and Williams have game time. Irvin and Cook could replace or push for serious time. Might be the most interesting position area to watch.


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