Michigan State Football: Connor Cook Earns Respect


Michigan State quarterback Connor Cook has seen his stock rise over the past couple of years. Cook has been the brains behind of the Spartans offense and, with the help of a strong defense, he’s a key reason why the program has won four-straight bowl games. Instead of riding high on that success and making the leap to the NFL, Cook decided to return to MSU for his senior year.

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Last season, Cook and the Michigan State offense set school records in total points (559), total yards (6,510), offensive touchdowns (70), rushing yards (3,057) and first downs (321). Being the man in charge of such a high octane offense has garnered the attention of college football.

A few days ago, NFL.com released its “Top Heisman Trophy Candidates for 2015” and Cook was listed at No. 12 and No. 4 of five Big Ten players on the list. It’s a long shot for Cook to win but it gives him and the team an extra boost of confidence going into the 2015-2016 campaign.

While college football’s grandest trophy seems like a long shot, other challenges surround Cook this season. Cook lost two of his biggest targets from last season, receivers Tony Lippett and Keith Mumphrey but looks forward to developing better chemistry between he and his other receivers. Here’s what he said in an MLive article back in March:

"“Obviously losing [Tony Lippett] and [Keith Mumphrey] are big losses, but we have some other (rising) senior leaders who are stepping up. Mcgarrett Kings, Aaron Burbridge and AJ Troupe, and then younger guys like R.J. Shelton, Matt Macksood and Tres Barksdale.”"

Cook also was ranked No. 1 in NFL.com among senior quarterbacks entering 2015.

Despite all of the recent attention, Cook still has winning as his number one priority. ESPN’s Dan Murphy had this quote:

"“If there is one thing you want to be known for as a quarterback it’s winning… Oh, he’s got a great arm, but he doesn’t win games. Oh, his footwork, his pocket presence is awesome, but they went 6-6. If you’re known as the winner that’s probably the greatest compliment you can get. Maybe the footwork isn’t always there. Maybe the plays break down. Maybe the mechanics aren’t always there, but you get it done.”"

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  • At 24-3 as a starter, Cook is currently on pace to become the winningest quarterback in Michigan State football history.

    All of the attention he’s receiving is well deserved. Cook has increased his passing yards, touchdowns and quarterback rating over the past two seasons while winning big time bowl games.

    As a guy who has been known for playing with a chip on his shoulder, Cook is going to have to find a new motivation because of all of the attention he’s getting. It’s unlikely his number will take a fall, the team’s offensive line is among the best in the nation and the defense is solid without Pat Narduzzi running the show.

    His experience and coming together with his group of receivers and runningbacks combined with his natural skill set will keep him in the discussion of the Heisman Trophy. His play will also keep the team in the conversation as one of the best in the nation.

    Next: Spartans Unveil New Nike Football Uniforms

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