Northeast's Cook named National Player of the Week

BOONEVILLE – Northeast Mississippi Community College sophomore running back Jaquise Cook of Ripley knew he would have big shoes to fill coming into the 2010 season.

Cook, who split playing time in 2009 behind 1,000-yard rusher Jeremy Cannon (New Albany) and Eric Knowlton (Horn Lake), has made up for his 2009 season with a superb start to the 2010 season.

Cook, who rushed for 267 yards and four touchdowns against East Mississippi Community College last week, was recently named the National Junior College Athletic Association’s (NJCAA) Offensive Player of the Week for his performance against the Lions.

“I just want to thank God for the opportunity,” Cook said. “This award means the world to me but it will mean more if we can keep winning and continue to have success the rest of the way. We want to make it to the playoffs and I definitely want to my part to help us get there.”

Cook joins two other junior college players from across the nation as Players of the Week for the NJCAA.

Grand Rapids (Mich.) Community College defensive tackle Aronde Stanton was selected as the Defensive Player of the Week after the 6-1, 265-pound tackle intercepted two passes against Joliet on Saturday and returned both for scores.

Vermilion (Minn.) Community College punter Chris Elbert was selected as Special Teams Player of the Week after he averaged 53 yards a punt for Vermilion in its game against Northland (Minn.).

Cook helped lead the Tigers to a 49-42 win over reigning Mississippi Association of Community/Junior Colleges (MACJC) state champion and Region XXIII champion East Mississippi in Scooba with his four score effort on Thursday, October 7.

Cook gave the Tigers a 14-7 lead over the Lions with his first score of the night and capped the Northeast scoring with a three-yard scamper with 2:29 left in the game as the Tigers moved to 4-2 on the season and more importantly took a 3-1 mark in the North Division.

“My coaches put me in a position to be able to make plays and I just wanted to make sure I did my part to help us win,” Cook said. “I could not have done it without my offensive line. They opened the holes for me and I made the best of it.”

With only two teams making the playoffs from each division – two from the North, two from the South – Cook’s effort helped propel the Tigers into the second place position in the North Division.

Rival Itawamba sits in the third place spot in the division with a 2-1 record while East Mississippi fell to 2-2 in the league. Saturday’s opponent, Coahoma, stands at 1-3 in the division after dropping a 27-26 decision to Itawamba last week.

Cook is currently third in the MACJC/Region XXIII rushing standings behind Hinds’ Matthew Willis and Gulf Coast’s James Gillium.

Cook was selected as one of the MACJC “Offensive Players of the Week” for his week six performance. Cook’s selection marks the second time the Northeast sophomore has been honored by the MACJC this year. Cook was also named MACJC Offensive Player of the week in week three when he rushed for 144 yards on 27 and a score against Mississippi Delta.

Cook needs 112 yards against Coahoma Community College on Saturday to break the 100 yards per game plateau. The Northeast sophomore has tallied 588 yards, eight touchdowns for the Tigers in six games so far and averages 98.0 yards per game on the ground.

Cook’s selection as National Player of the Week makes it the third straight week a player from the MACJC has been selected as Player of the Week on the national level.

Northwest kicker Kevin Buford was honored as Special Teams Player of the Week for the week of October 3 and Mississippi Gulf Coast wide receiver Javon Bell was selected for the week of September 27.

Mississippi has had four players of the week during the six-week season as East Central linebacker Chris Ficklin picked up the honor during the week of September 12.

NEMCC Media Relations