Going to Independence
Clinton High senior, multiple-sport student-athlete Tay Cook is going a long way from home to get his college career started, but he has hopes it will bring him back to South Carolina.
Cook signed a National Letter of Intent this morning to play football at two-year Independence Community College in Independence, Kansas. “This is another special day for our school,” Red Devil head football coach Andrew Webb said, as Cook and two other Red Devils, Donavan Blackmon and Jay Fuller, have signed to play college football.
“The work you have to put in to play at the college level says a lot about Tay,” Webb said. “it says a lot about his teammates who pushed him, the teachers who helped him. It says a lot about our school.”
Three other Red Devils have signed this school year for baseball and cross-country in college.
The Red Devil football team and coaches, along with a sizable group of students in the CHS auditorium attended Cook’s signing. In addition to All-Region honors in football, Cook was All-Region and the Red Devil varsity’s Most Valuable Players in basketball.
“I’m happy playing football,” Cook said. “You can have a bad game and it doesn’t show up as much (as in basketball).”
Tay’s brother Kenny Cook was an All-American wide receiver at Gardner-Webb University and was signed to the Kansas City Chiefs practice squad in October. Former Independence CC players James Baker (Kansas City) and Stephen Houston (New England) are the latest Pirates to move on to four-year programs and earn spots with NFL teams.
Cook said Independence CC coaches have said he will get a look at wide receiver and on special teams. Playing in the National Junior College Athletic Association, the Pirates can use help at wide receiver.
The offense averaged 131.6 yards per game and 18.6 points per game in a 2-8 2015 season. The Pirates defense surrendered 44 points and more than 400 yards per game.
Cook will be playing for head coach and offensive coordinator Jason Brown. His wide receivers coach, Donte Ellington, played Arena League football.
Cook said the University of South Carolina is the “dream team” on his transfer list after two seasons. He plans to major in business, and asked about coaching in his future, Cook said, “Not yet.”