Six months ago, Alex Cook was a University of Washington football success story, a wide receiver who not only switched to free safety, he became the starter in a secondary hard to crack.
He was hailed for his athleticism that enabled him to get on the field on Saturdays on both sides of the ball.
Cook opened three of the four games held during the pandemic season, giving way only to the versatile and NFL-bound Elijah Molden in what would be the final outing against Stanford as he hit a learning curve.
Which is why this past spring practice would have been especially important for the 6-foot-1, 195-pound senior from Sacramento in his quest to reclaim his No. 1 safety role.
Except Cook missed nearly all of the 15 workouts that were set aside for everyone's personal development. He was forced to watch from the sidelines with an undisclosed injury and occasionally climb on an exercise bike. He couldn't compete with a host of players paraded through what was once his position.
Going down the roster in numerical order, this is another of our post-spring assessments of all of the Husky talent at hand, gleaned from a month of observations, as a way to keep everyone engaged during the offseason.
Cook, who wears jersey No. 5 on defense opposite his offensive counterpart Sean McGrew, no doubt will be healthy when Husky football reconvenes in August. What's unclear is whether he's fallen too far behind to reclaim what was once his.
It's the cold-hearted side of football that gives you everything and then takes it all away in one injury swoop, robbing a player of his good health and consequently minutes.
Cook currently is in limbo before the Huskies pull on the pads again. He could return and win back the job. Or settle for a special-teams assignment.
Or simply wonder why this happened to him at all after receiving his big break.
2021 Outlook: Projected free-safety reserve, former starter
UW Service Time: Played in 29 games, started 4, including once at wide receiver in 2019 Rose Bowl against Ohio State
Stats: 11 tackles, 1 reception for 26 yards
Individual Honors: None
Pro prospects: Currently none
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