Kansas State has added a late signee, announcing that WR/QB prospect Kody Cook will attend the university this fall as a preferred walk-on. According to a report this morning from the Louisburg Herald, the transfer from Hutchinson Community College will have an opportunity to earn a scholarship with the team and could redshirt his first year on campus. Playing wide receiver during his time at HCC, Cook filled in as quarterback during Hutchinson’s Salt City Bowl Game and commanded the team to a 41-21 win over Iowa Central. During the Salt City Bowl, Cook was the surprise player of the game when he won the offensive MVP as his team’s quarterback. Cook both plays and practices as a wide receiver – he does not take QB snaps in practice. However, when HCC quarterback Luke Barnes injured his throwing hand, Cook came in late in the second quarter to complete 20-of-30 passes while throwing for 272 yards and five touchdowns – including three TD passes in the fourth quarter that put the game out of reach.
Cook is a versatile player that can do a lot for the Wildcats, and it is unknown precisely how the coaches will utilize him. A bit undersized for the quarterback position at 6’1″ and 190 pounds, he still proved he can step up as a pocket passer if need be (he was the third string on his junior college team). He primarily played receiver while also serving as the team’s punter and playing on the punt-block and kick return teams. A 2011 graduate of Louisburg High School, he was fourth on the team in receiving yards with 386 – 32.2 yards per game, with 9.4 yards per reception. He also averaged 11 yards on three punt returns and 21.8 yards on 11 kick returns. As a freshman handling punts, Cook averaged 39.8 yards per kick on 43 attempts while placing 18 within the opponents’ 20 yard line and launching six for 50 yards or more.
Cook was projected to play at quarterback this past year by a variety of services, and Yahoo! listed him as one of the top pro-style prospects to watch in terms of player development in the run up to the 2012 season. And while another pro-style quarterback stole the show this year – NJCAA Offensive MVP and K-State commit Jake Waters – Cook may have a future at the position should he redshirt and spend an additional year acclimating himself to Bill Snyder’s system. Wherever he ends up, Cook provides fans a feel-good story wherein a kid willing to do anything to help his team gets his chance in the big game, and his performance pays off with the opportunity to play at the next level.