Dalvin Cook, the Best RB in ACC History
By BJ Bennett
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No ACC player, ever, compiled more yards from scrimmage than Dalvin Cook.
Dalvin Cook ended his Florida State career as the Seminoles' all-time leading rusher, topping program great Warrick Dunn this past fall and finishing with 4,464 yards in just three seasons. Even without a senior year, Cook, who ran for 1,765 yards and 19 touchdowns as a junior, is even more, the premier running back in ACC history.
Though Cook is the league's second all-time leading rusher behind North Carolina State great Ted Brown, a mathematical frame of reference is the best prism through which to process Cook's production. Of the top eight rushers in conference history, only Cook has fewer than 805 carries; he ran just 687 times. Cook's 6.49 yards per attempt is the highest average of anyone in the group by a considerable margin, with, at least, a full yard and change advantage in each case. Of players with a minimum of 300 carries, only Dunn and Miami's Duke Johnson compiled a better rate.
Cook has two of the top seven single-season performances the league has ever seen: the aforementioned 1,765 yards in 2016 and 1,691 in 2015. Simply for point of comparison, Cook's career count nearly matches the combined college total of former all-star Florida State running backs Devonta Freeman and Antone Smith, both currently in the NFL. Cook's 46 rushing touchdowns rank in the top four in conference history, not far behind the stunning mark of Pittsburgh's iconic James Conner with 52.
No ACC player, ever, compiled more yards from scrimmage. Accounting for both rushing and receiving production, Cook has 5,399 total yards on the books, edging out Brown and Dunn on the list. Cook was the Seminoles' second-leading receiver this past fall. Of all FBS participants all-time, the only three-year players with a higher tally were Hershel Walker, Marshall Faulk, LaMichael James and Garrett Wolfe. Cook currently ranks 11th in NCAA history for rushing yards through three seasons.
Furthermore, Florida State won 33 games during Cook's tenure in Tallahassee, went a combined 6-0 against rivals Florida and Miami, won an ACC Championship, in a game where he was MVP, played in the College Football Playoff and wrapped up his career by earning Orange Bowl MVP honors, in his hometown, in a thrilling one-point triumph over Michigan. Cook, on countless occasions, led the Seminoles to victory.
Many great running backs have come through the league. Cook is the best of them all.