oted for their own sons.鈥?/p>
Lockette was determined not to repeat the mistakes made at Northwestern Bears Anthony Miller Jersey , so he used his first head-coaching opportunity to hammer home the idea of personal accountability. The Easterling story became allegory. He鈥檇 tell the boys about the time Easterling took four carries in the first quarter of a game, scored on all four carries, then benched himself and let his backups mop up. Then he鈥檇 talk about the incident in the bathroom, and how everything could be lost with one decision.
鈥淐oach brought Easterling up a whole bunch, a lot, especially to me and Joe,鈥?Cook says. 鈥淎nd we鈥檇 see Antwain on the streets, outside of stores and just think about what happened.鈥?/p>
When Lockette took a job with the University of South Florida as a running backs coach, the school replaced him with Roland Smith, his former boss at Northwestern. Smith doubled down on Lockette鈥檚 message and Cook became the team鈥檚 emotional leader, rallying them after a regular season loss that put them out of contention for a national No.1 ranking. Meanwhile Bears Roquan Smith Jersey , Easterling started coming to Central games to see Cook and Yearby. While he dared not show his face at Northwestern, he attended a few rivalry games at Central, wearing a hoodie to keep a low profile.
Eventually, he met Cook and worked out several times with him and Yearby, tutoring them on the finer points of ball-carrying. Most of the colleges recruiting Easterling back in 2006 dropped out of the race with the statutory rape charge. He attended Southern Miss, but was suspended for violating team rules and never returned. He spent a year in community college but never played. In 2010, he says, he was shot in the back of both legs when notorious Brownsville neighborhood gangsters 鈥淪crew鈥?and 鈥淪car鈥?Williams fired guns, including an AK-47, from a moving car into a crowd. He says he lost feeling in his left foot and now finds it difficult to run. Today he works part time in construction and coaches his nine-year-old son in football.
鈥淢y biggest regret is leaving USM,鈥?Easterling says. 鈥淚 tried sticking with it Bears Joel Iyiegbuniwe Jersey , but every time I was doing something good they鈥檇 bring up that incident. It got to me and I guess I wasn鈥檛 mentally tough. I was impatient. I was ready to play and the system wasn鈥檛 ready for me to play. I was being a city guy, trying to rush it, and it didn鈥檛 work out.鈥?/p>
鈥淚t鈥檚 just been tough, when the鈥?how do I say this鈥?when the support ain鈥檛 really there and you鈥檙e just freestyling on your own and you鈥檙e a young kid and you think you know what you鈥檙e doing. I fell. I painted the wrong picture.鈥?/p>
* * *
Jimbo Fisher understands something basic but essential about kids from Miami-Dade, an area he鈥檚 recruited personally for more than two decades.
鈥淔or the majority of these guys, coming from a poverty-stricken area, it鈥檚 survival of the fittest,鈥?Fisher says. 鈥淭hey鈥檙e cautious with new people. I think Dalvin鈥檚 a great judge of character for one reason: If you make a mistake, where he鈥檚 from, you end up dead or hurt.
Cook, Florida鈥檚 Mr. Football in 2013, originally committed to Clemson, then flipped to Florida before changing his pledge one last time. Before he signed with Florida State in January of 2014, he鈥檇 already taken the summer and night classes necessary to graduate early and enroll in the spring. Yearby did the same, and wound up attending the University of Miami, where he rushed for more than 2,000 yards over three seasons before declaring early for the 2017 draft.
鈥淥ur whole environment, there鈥檚 an everyday temptation of somebody trying to pull you in and make you do bad things,鈥?Yearby says. 鈥淲e faced temptation mostly every day of our lives. We just happened to beat the odds.鈥?/p>
Fisher says Cook was 鈥渢remendously鈥?hard-working from the beginning: 鈥淗e came in and acted like he was the lowest guy on the totem pole and he ended up being one of the hardest workers we ever had on this team.鈥?He rushed for over 1,000 yards on 170 carries as a freshman in 2014, pairing with eventual No. 1 overall pick Jameis Winston to lead FSU to an undefeated regular season and a playoff berth.
The lessons of Antwain Easterling seemed to resonate with Cook during his time at Central. But during his freshman year, Cook became known to Tallahassee law enforcement on three occasions. He was charged with criminal mischief after a June BB gun incident that resulted in broken car windows. Also that summer#4# police cited him for mistreating puppies when, according to a citation issued by Tallahassee Animal Services, a state animal control officer observed 鈥渢hree puppies鈥?tethered directly around the neck by a heavy chain. The dogs were unable to move and the smaller puppies were choking. I had to remove them for their safety.鈥?That July, according to an ESPN report, Cook was named as an 鈥渁ssociate鈥?in an assault case of two men the Tallahassee police investigated for allegedly brandishing a firearm at a neighbor; the incident took place at Cook鈥檚 apartment.
Scouts running down the list of Cook鈥檚 transgressions early at Florida State heard from assistant coaches close to Cook that they felt he鈥檇 turned a corner late in his career in terms of maturity. 鈥淐oach Vic at FSU would tell us that Dalvin finally grew up this year and was trying to get Miami thugs out of his life and stopped going home,鈥?said one southeast area scout for an NFL team. 鈥淭hey would come to Tallahassee and Dalvin would text Coach Vic when they were at his house and [Vic would] tell them to leave and be the enforcer.鈥?/p>
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