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Has Dalvin Cook's Florida State career been overlooked nationally?

OCTAVIO JONES | Times

13

December

Unless Florida State star Dalvin Cook unexpectedly returns for his senior season, one of the best players in Seminoles history will leave Tallahassee without much new hardware in his trophy case.

Yes, he was just named a first-team All-American by the AP. He won the Jim Brown Award last season as the Touchdown Club of Columbus' vote for top running back in the country. He earned all-ACC honors, too.
But that's about it, and it doesn't seem quite right. Cook is FSU's all-time leading rusher. He lived up to his five-star billing and helped the ‘Noles make three consecutive New Year's Six bowl appearances. FSU dubs him college football's "most explosive player." I don't have any data to back it up, but I don't disagree.

So why will Cook (probably) leave FSU without a Heisman, or even a Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back?

Tomahawk Nation's Bud Elliott floated some theories recently, including ACC fatigue and FSU's three losses. I buy both of those.

The ACC's image has risen since Jameis Winston won the Heisman Trophy in 2013. Winston was clearly the best player in the league then; Cook might not even be in the top two now, thanks to Louisville's Lamar Jackson and Clemson's Deshaun Watson. It's hard to make an argument as the best player in the nation when you might be No. 3 in your own conference.

The fact that the ‘Noles suffered September and/or October losses each of the last two years dropped FSU off the national radar. Cook fell off it, too.

Cook also happened to show up at a national resurgence in running backs. Stanford's Christian McCaffrey and Alabama's Derrick Henry had historic seasons in 2015. Texas' D'onta Foreman had one of the greatest seasons Texas has ever seen, and San Diego State's Donnel Pumphrey could become the NCAA's all-time leading rusher later this month. 

None of those factors are really in Cook's control, but all of them led to a career that might not be as decorated as he deserved.

[Last modified: Monday, December 12, 2016 3:36pm]

    

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