He’s perfect for your style of play. He’ll help you get to the NFL. He’ll coach you with a strong sense of discipline.
For the last three days, Malcolm Cook’s ears have been ringing with these statements concerning new Virginia defensive coordinator Jon Tenuta.
It hasn’t bothered the four-star UVa commitment. He’s just eager to put the face with the compliments.
“I can’t wait to meet the man,” Cook said.
That introduction will take place at the beginning of next week when Tenuta will start to make his recruiting rounds. A stop at Fork Union to see Cook has been scheduled.
“He’s going to sit down and talk to me a little bit,” Cook said. “I’m pretty excited to meet him. We’ll see what he has in store for me and we’ll see what I can do to help him out, help the team out.”
The encouragement in Cook’s voice during a Saturday phone interview is nearly a complete contrast from the confused tone he had a month ago when speaking for the first time since Cavalier head coach Mike London fired defensive coordinator Jim Reid.
Not only was Reid Cook’s lead recruiter, he served a mentor’s role for the talented safety.
“I love that man,” Cook told The Daily Progress on Dec. 3. “I was proud to say I was going to play under him.”
Although Cook never fully de-committed from the Wahoos, he became more open to looking at other programs, including Penn State, which arrived on FUMA’s campus to speak with Cook the day after Reid was let go.
But one important voice never left him, telling him to not completely shun UVa yet.
“When my mom sat me down, she said, ‘You can’t fault Coach London for what he did. It’s a business. If things aren’t going right, they got to change,’” Cook said. “Me having that relationship with Coach Reid, it just took me over the top because we were so close.
“My mom said, ‘Even though you had a relationship, you still have to know it’s still a business. You never know what’s going to happen. Coach London’s a smart man. He might bring in somebody similar to Coach Reid or possibly better, you never know. Just wait for the outcome.’”
It came Thursday when Tenuta, along with Tom O’Brien (associate head coach, tight ends coach), Jeff Banks (special teams coordinator, running backs coach) and Marques Hagans (receivers coach), was hired by the Cavs to join London’s staff.
Quickly, courtesy of Fork Union’s coaches, Cook was filled in on Tenuta.
Both Micky Sullivan, FUMA’s now-retired prep coach, and John Shuman, FUMA’s post-graduate coach, gave ringing endorsements.
“Learning under him [Tenuta],” Cook said, “Coach Shuman and Coach Sullivan said, ‘As a safety, Malcolm, you’re going to love him. He’s going to let you come downhill and also drop back and get interceptions, just like you did here. It’ll be the same thing just with better skill around you.’ I said, ‘Yeah, I like that.’”
Cook, who was recently named the All-Central Virginia Defensive Player of the Year by The Daily Progress, made 97 tackles and nine interceptions this season for the Blue Devils.
That production will now likely join Tenuta’s blitz-heavy, aggressive style that’s defined the former N.C. State assistant over his coaching career of nearly 30 years.
“He always recruited Fork Union,” Cook said. “Coach Shuman said, ‘That’s a great guy that will take care of you.’ Coach Sullivan said the same thing. He said [Tenuta] can do a lot, putting me in the right scheme and giving me the kind of exposure I’ll need to try to make it to the next level.
“I really like the sound of it. This is important. I just can’t wait to meet him.”
Cook will make his official visit to Virginia on Jan. 18. He’ll visit Virginia Tech on Jan. 25 and Wake Forest on Feb. 1.
Late Friday night, UVa offensive tackle Morgan Moses, via Twitter, announced he would be returning for his senior season.
“I guess it’s out... Hard decision but I’m staying in the ville [sic] for another season... GO HOOS,” Moses tweeted.
The 6-foot-6, 325-pounder earned an honorable mention All-Atlantic Coast Conference nod this past season.
Rocco going ... to Richmond?
Former Virginia quarterback Michael Rocco is visiting the University of Richmond this weekend, according to CBS6, a television station in Richmond.
The 6-foot-3 225-pounder was granted his release to transfer from UVa in early December. Rocco threw for 4,731 yards in three seasons with the Cavs, good for No. 8 in the program’s all-time ranks.
If he selects the Spiders, Rocco will be coached by his uncle, Danny Rocco, and he would not have to sit out a year because he would be transferring down to the Football Championship Subdivision level.
The UR quarterback room already features Michael Strauss, another former Wahoo who transferred after the 2011 season.
Aboushi, Greer in all-star games
Departing Virginia football players Oday Aboushi and Steve Greer will participate in their respective all-star games, the Cavaliers officially announced Saturday.
Aboushi, a 6-6, 310-pound All-ACC offensive tackle, will play in the Senior Bowl, which will be held Jan. 26 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala.
Greer, a 6-2, 230-pound All-ACC linebacker, will play in the East-West Shrine Game, which will be held Jan. 19 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, Fla.
UVa was represented in Saturday’s U.S. Army All-American Bowl courtesy of five-star running back commitment Taquan “Smoke” Mizzell.
The Bayside High School product showed off his dazzling speed with a 77-yard fourth quarter kickoff return that set up the East’s winning touchdown.
Mizzell is expected to make his official visit to Virginia in two weeks.