Texas Cookin'

Lamar Texans’ five-star prospect Anthony Cook chooses The University of Texas

Anthony Cook talks about all the Houston players heading to Austin to join Tom Herman. Vype

Originally appeared on Vype.com.

HOUSTON—Moments before stepping out to sit at the table with cameras pointed in his direction, Anthony Cook delivered some bad news.

Cook called Texas coach Tom Herman to let him know he would be choosing another school.

After breaking his heart, Cook came out and finished off the joke on Herman by pulling out a bright burnt orange cap with the white Longhorn logo across the front and committed to the University of Texas on Wednesday.

“He was laughing,” Cook said about Herman’s reaction when he Facetimed him after his commitment. “‘I knew you were playing,'"(Herman said).

Cook had his top three schools narrowed down to Texas, LSU and Ohio State heading into the first ever early National Signing Day.

In past years a trend in Houston has seen top players leave the state to play college football but Cook wasn’t going to follow that.

“I’m from Texas,” Cook said. “If I would have went to any other school and then I see my Texas school winning a national championship that would have hurt my heart. So I couldn’t let that pass.”

On this day Cook was joined by teammates D’Shawn Jamison and Al’vonte Woodard, who both also signed to the University of Texas.

“It does make it easier (having) familiar faces,” Cook said. “We’re going in and we’re all going to experience the same thing. We’re going to be new but we’re going to get through it together.”

Cook had 30 offers heading into the day, according to Rivals.com, which ranked him as the No. 1 prospect to come out of Texas this recruiting class. Cook was ranked as the No. 8 overall prospect in the 2018 recruiting class.

 

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The Marlins are showing interest in Yuli Gurriel. Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images.

As the reporting date for pitchers and catchers draws near, there are still some decisions hanging over the Astros. One of them is whether or not to bring back Yuli Gurriel. “La Piña,” as he's affectionately called, is 38 years old. He turns 39 in June. His leadership and instincts cannot be matched. The man has seen a ton of baseball and comes from a family of baseballers. So, what's the holdup?

Enter the Miami Marlins. The ownership group, led by Bruce Sherman, is undoubtedly trying to capitalize on the heavy Cuban population in the Miami area. Bringing in the Cuban Babe Ruth is a great way to attempt to get more fan engagement. The franchise has only been to the playoffs three times. First two times (1997 and 2003), they won it all. In 2020, they were swept in the NLDS. They're most likely offering him a ridiculous amount of money to come to a team with a losing history. Knowing the Marlins are willing to hand out stupid money, would you blame La Piña for taking one last ridiculous payday?

Think about it. He's got two rings and made a ton of money. He can safely retire very comfortably. The lure to come back for another year or two would definitely be about money. The Marlins aren't a real threat in the next couple of seasons to do anything, but are willing to pay me like I'm still a star? Plus, I'm closer to my home country with all my family and friends? Sign me up!

This is where the Astros have to make a decision. Bring Yuli back for another year or move on. If he follows through with his last four years, this should be a bounce back year. Since 2016, his first year in Houston and MLB, he's hit .262, .299, .291, .298, .232 (pandemic shortened season), .319, and .242 last season. The man is a professional hitter. He knows how to work an at-bat and can drive pitchers nuts. His defense isn't bad either. He's a more than capable first baseman.

This won't win me any favor, but I think it's time to move on. Yuli will always have a place in my heart because he was a major factor in the Astros' two World Series wins. Last season's title run was even more satisfying since it helped silence the haters. That was the mouthwash that got rid of the stench of the sign stealing scandal. Piña was there through it all.

Now, it's time to start transitioning towards the future. Piña, Jose Altuve, Alex Bregman, Justin Verlander, and Lance McCullers Jr were the only holdovers from the 2017 team. Verlander was one of the guys the Mets backed the Brinks truck up for this offseason. Altuve (32), Bregman (28), and McCullers (29) should be all that's left of that group. While it would've been great to have Verlander (39) back, the emergence of the youth movement in the pitching staff made his loss somewhat expendable. At some point, the nostalgia wears off. Father Time and Mother Nature are both undefeated. If they were to bring Piña back, he should be a part timer transitioning into a hitting coach. Careers come to an end. It's time to start looking at his exit.

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