The day after National Signing Day, a popular question began to arise among Vanderbilt fans: Where is Colby Cooke on the Commodores commitment list?
Due to a new SEC rule, prospects who plan to greyshirt can not sign an official national letter of intent until they enroll at the school. For this same reason, Rivals.com has adopted a policy that greyshirt candidates will be taken off the commitment list despite still being committed to a school.
While that may be the new policy, the Vanderbilt coaching staff still considers its 2012 recruiting class to have 22 members and Cooke could prove to be one of the most important ones down the road.
Rated by Rivals.com as the nation's 8th best kicking prospect, Cooke committed to Vanderbilt in early August and remained a strong verbal throughout the process despite a few other programs such as Virginia and Richmond coming after him.
As a senior, Cooke had a strong year at Goochland (Va.), helping the Bulldogs to a appearance in the Virginia Group A Division 2 state title game. Cooke scored a total of 114 points, converting on 17 field goals and 63 extra points. Playing on a team that had another Division 1 kicking specialist signee, Cooke also led Goochland on kickoffs with 32 touchbacks and an average of 63.2 yards per attempt.
Cooke earned all-state honors for his final year and was also named PARADE All-American.
Perhaps the most impressive thing about his 2011 season was he was performing at positions that the Commodores didn't even originally recruit him for as the staff offered Cooke in the summer as a punting specialist. He didn't punt for the Bulldogs because of Purdue signee Thomas Meadows.
On National Signing Day, Cooke represented Team USA in the International Bowl with several other national prospects in Austin, Texas.
Cooke visited Vanderbilt on several occasions following his commitment and was in on hand for both the Commodores historic win over Wake Forest in November and the Liberty Bowl on New Year's Eve.
He was also a part of the Commodores big official visit weekend in late January, an event that featured every Vanderbilt commitment at the time. Cooke reportedly meshed very well with other members of his recruiting class during the visit.
The Vanderbilt coaching staff sees Cooke as a major part of the 2012 recruiting class as he's believed to be the team's punter of the future after All-SEC candidate Richard Kent moves on in 2012. VandySports.com believes should something come up in the spring with the Commodores current roster, the staff may try to bring in Cooke with the rest of the class this fall.
Whether that happens or he follows the original plan and enrolls at the school in January of 2013, Cooke will ultimately sign a letter of intent with the Commodores and receive an athletic scholarship.
So regardless if he's listed as a commitment by Rivals.com right now, he's still an official commitment in Vanderbilt's eyes and a part of the 2012 recruiting class.