Cook, right, accepts the South Florida player of the year award. (Photo by Safid Deen/Miami Herald)

Miami Central running back Dalvin Cook was presented Saturday with the South Florida player of the year award from the Warren Henry Auto Group and Tournament of Champions, Inc.

Afterward, he discussed his recruitment with two local media outlets.

In an interview with Josh Darrow of South Florida High School Sports, Cook was asked if reports that he met with Florida and Florida State on the last day of the contact period (Dec. 15) were true.

“No,” he replied. “I had shut my recruitment down, and I just let everyone know that I thank them for recruiting me. But nobody came by.”

Cook then made several comments that seemed positive in regards to UF.

When asked why Gator fans should believe he’s still coming, Cook had this to say.

“Everybody thinks I might not be going to Florida because they had a down year. But I watch college football a whole lot. I watched Auburn last year, and they were 3-9. Everybody has their down year. That’s why people probably think I won’t go there, but there’s always a chance. I’m still committed to Florida.”

Darrow told Cook people don’t believe that, to which he responded, “I know, but you still gotta look. I’m a commit, and that’s all you can say until I flip. That’s it.”

Cook said the school he decided on the week leading up to the state championship is still his choice, which he plans to reveal at halftime of the Under Armour All-America Game on Jan. 2.

Cook said the coaches that were the least intrusive during the contact period won him over.

“You’re going to always know when someone is loyal to you,” he said. “When I was around that group of coaches, I just felt it. Those guys, they kept it real with me, and I just felt like that was the place for me.

“I knew I was comfortable (with them) when the recruiting process really got heated up, and those coaches really just laid back and let the whole thing go by. They didn’t really bug me that much … and I just figured out those were the right coaches for me.”

If those comments are how Cook actually feels, that should all but eliminate Miami. Following the state title game, he said the Hurricanes came by his house and/or school every day once he signed a financial aid agreement with them.

Cook also told Darrow his senior season was probably the last time he’ll play with teammate and UM commit Joseph Yearby.

That would mean it’s a battle between the Gators and ’Noles, which has been the general consensus for the past week or so.

Florida State visited Cook on the first day of the contact period and saw him much more than Florida during those two weeks. The UF coaches appear to be the ones that didn’t “bug” him.

With FSU getting ready to play for the national championship and UF coming off a 4-8 season, perhaps this comment from Saturday in the Miami Herald’s story on Cook is another indication of where he may be heading.

“I feel great about all the schools in Florida right now,” Cook said when discussing his decision. “At any time a program can go down and a program can go up.

“I just feel like if you’re a great player, a team is always missing that one guy that can take them to the next level. And if you trust in yourself and you go do it and you put your mind to it, you can change the team.”

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