Florida State running back Dalvin Cook watched the Heisman ceremony Saturday night, not just to see who would win college football’s most prestigious award, but also to find out where he finished.
And although Cook said he was not disappointed when he didn’t receive an invitation to New York for the ceremony, the same cannot be said when he saw the final voting on the screen.
Cook finished seventh. He was fourth among running backs, behind winner Derrick Henry of Alabama, runner-up Christian McCaffrey of Stanford and LSU’s Leonard Fournette, who was sixth.
“I feel like I could have finished higher,” said Cook, who had seven of 895 first place votes. “But it’s out of my hands. It’s up to the people that vote.”
Cook, McCaffrey and Fournette are in the same class, along with several other outstanding backs such as Oklahoma’s Samaje Perine, Georgia’s Nick Chubb, Miami’s Joe Yearby and Oregon’s Royce Freeman.
“I knew this group was going to be a good group coming in,” Cook said.
“It was going to change college football. We’re doing it. We’re going out, we’re competing. It’s a good group of running backs.”
And Cook’s stats stack up with the best of them. He has rushed for a school single-season record 1,658 yards and leads all Power Five backs with 7.86 yards per carry. He is third with 150.7 yards per game.
And he is being recognized, despite the Heisman finish.
He has been named to two All-American first teams: The Football Writers on Monday and Sports Illustrated last week.
Cook was the winner of the Jim Brown Award as the nation’s top running back and he’s been named to three All-American second teams.
“I think Dalvin is as good as anybody out there,” FSU coach Jimbo Fisher said. “But at the same time, I think those guys are outstanding, too.
“I’m glad he’s on my team.”
Henry, McCaffrey and third-place Heisman finisher, Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson, were the top three vote getters in each of the six regions with Henry winning all but the Far West, which went to McCaffrey.
Cook, who immediately sent out a Tweet congratulating Henry when the announcement was made, said the Heisman voting will not serve as extra motivation next season. Just walking onto a football field is all the motivation he needs.
“I love the game of football,” he said. “Love playing for Florida State. Like competing. I just love the game. That’s it. I got the inner motivation.”
Cook, who set the FSU freshman rushing record with 1,008 yards in 2014, still has one game to go this season as the Seminoles started preparations this week to face Houston in the Dec. 31 Peach Bowl in Atlanta.
For Cook, who has battled rib, hamstring and ankle injuries this season (he left the Wake Forest game in the first quarter after pulling a hamstring and missed the Syracuse game with a sprained ankle) should enter the bowl game as healthy as he’s been since the first two weeks of the season.
The Seminoles had 14 days off since their final game of the regular season, a 27-2 victory at Florida, and Sunday’s return to practice.
“It was very important getting that break,” he said. “These two weeks were big for us. We come back out there, everybody is moving around good, looking healthy.
“I’m feeling good. The break is what I needed.”
▪ Senior safety Lamarcus Brutus of Port St. Lucie had surgery to repair a broken bone in his left hand. He will be limited in practice but expects to play in the bowl.
▪ Senior defensive tackle Derrick Mitchell will not play against Houston after undergoing back surgery. Mitchell missed the final three games of the regular season.