By Joe Scalzo
Many NFL scouts are getting their first look at Jamaine Cook this week.
He’s doing everything he can to get a second one.
The Youngstown State running back joins teammate Lamar Mady, a guard, in representing the Penguins in today’s Texas vs. the Nation all-star game at Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas.
While Mady earned his invitation to the game weeks ago (and has already been invited to this month’s NFL combine in Indianapolis), Cook wasn’t added until last week when another running back pulled out due to injury.
“I think this is going to help me tremendously, especially with the way I’ve been performing,” said Cook (5-foot-9, 215), a Cleveland native. “I know some of the scouts already knew me but I think I’ve opened more eyes.”
A two-time all-conference selection, Cook ran for 1,279 yards and 15 TDs last fall. It was his third straight season where he rushed for at least 1,250 yards and 10 TDs.
After setting a career high in carries (279), Cook took 2 1/2 weeks off to recover before resuming workouts. He’s been training in Cincinnati since late December at Ignition APG, a popular facility for NFL players and NFL hopefuls.
After today’s game, Cook will return to Cincinnati to train for YSU’s pro day, which is March 5. Mady (who did not return calls for comment), Cook and tight end Will Shaw (who played in the Casino Del Sol All-Star game in January) are hoping to play at the next level.
There are two former Penguins in the NFL: wide receiver Donald Jones (Bills) and DB Brandian Ross (Raiders).
“I think this class will put YSU on the map,” said Cook. “It’ll show what Youngstown has to offer and that scouts should flow through there more, like they did when [Jim] Tressel was there.
“The players there are hard-nosed football players who want to be the best, like anybody at Ohio State or any bigger school.”