Back in July, his 2015 campaign was almost derailed before it started, when a woman alleged that he punched her outside of a Tallahassee bar. Those charges seemed to be spurious, and the jury took all of twenty minutes to return a not guilty verdict at his trial. Seminole fans breathed a deep sigh of relief. ACC defensive coordinators on the other hand, may not have been as enthused, and their anxiety was well founded.
Cook leads all Power 5 running backs in yards per carry, plays over 20 yards from scrimmage, and his 152 yards per game (YPG) ranks second to LSU juggernaut Leonard Fournette (164). Cook's YPG numbers are even more impressive considering that he averages 5 less carries per game than Fournette. He is the most explosive player in the country, and I have the data to support that claim.
Cook has carried the ball into the end zone fourteen times. Four of those came from behind the opposing team's 30 yard-line. He has 14 touchdown carries for 541 yards. That's an average of 38.6 yards per score.
To put the significance of those numbers in perspective, Cook's former teammate at Miami Central High, Joseph Yearby, has 793 yards rushing on 156 carries and 5 TDS for the rival Miami Hurricanes. Yearby, who once started over Cook in HS, has a mere 252 more yards on the entire season than Cook does on his 14 touchdown runs. Florid'a starting running back, Kelvin Taylor, has 736 yards on 191 carries, less than 200 yards more than cooks touchdown yardage. Finally, Louisville's starting running back Brandon Radcliffe, has 526 yards on 107 carries this season. Cook has out gained Bobby Petrino's starting running back by 15 yards on his 14 touchdown carries alone.
The only things that have been able to slow Dalvin Cook so far this year have been Boston College's #1 ranked rushing defense (55 yards on 15 carries), an ankle injury against Georgia Tech, and a nagging hamstring injury that forced him out against Wake Forrest and caused him to miss the Syracuse game. Imagine his numbers had he completed the Wake Forrest and Syracuse games. Imagine if he didn't have to pull up lame as he broke into the secondary against Miami on what looked like a sure
His offensive line hasn't exactly been a model of efficiency either as ESPN's David Hale pointed out:
Chuck Blunt took a look at how Cook has stacked up this season against other top backs and how he has fared against some of the top defensive units in his way.
What Cook has done as a true sophomore is amazing, especially considering all of the adversity he has faced. He broke Warrick Dunn's long standing FSU single season rushing record (1,242) last week against NC State. Dunn also holds the FSU record for career rushing yardage with 3,959, Cook currently sits at 2,377 with two more regular season games and a bowl game remaining this year. Oh yeah, he'll be back next season.
"Dalvo" as FSU fans call him, is the best running back in the history of Florida State. When it is all said and done, he may be one of, if not the best running back in the history of college football. In order for that to happen, things will have to break his way, which has not been the case for him during his time at FSU. Nonetheless, if his resilience is any indicator of future success, in combination with his nearly unprecedented skill set, I would think he has a good shot at the title of greatest of all-time.