Brady Cook is heading back to school but it’s not where you think.
The Chaminade senior football standout is forgoing his last semester of high school to enroll early at the University of Missouri. Cook moves to Columbia on Saturday, Jan. 18 and begins college Jan. 21.
“I’m ready to get up there and go and get started,” said Cook, who is a native of Wentzville. “Classes start and then so do [football] meetings and offseason workouts. I can’t wait.”
Cook signed his national letter-of-intent in late December.
“I’m so happy. I’ve been waiting for this moment for years and years,” he said. “I’m so excited to be going to Mizzou. Enrolling early will help me learn the offense. I’m ready to go and ready to compete.”
Chaminade coach Antoine Torrey is happy for his athlete.
“I am so proud and happy for Brady that his dreams have become a reality,” Torrey said.
The 6-foot-3, 210-pounder is a dual-threat at quarterback and punting. A three-star recruit, he was the top-rated quarterback in the state, according to 247 Sports.
This past season, Cook threw for 3,194 yards and 33 touchdowns, He was intercepted seven times for the Red Devils. He averaged 48.3 yards per punt to lead the state.
Cook was selected as a first-team, all-state player by MaxPreps Football. Moreover, he was a Class 5 first-team, all-state selection at punter and selected second-team quarterback by the Missouri Football Coaches Association. He was named the Metro Catholic Conference Offensive Player of the Year.
Missouri changed coaches after the season. Barry Odom was fired. The new coach is Eliah Drinkwitz. The change did not deter Cook.
“I had a great relations with the past coaching staff, especially in Coach Odom and Coach [Derek] Dooley,” Cook said. “I got to meet Coach Drinkwitz a little bit. I made my official visit and got to visit with him and see what he thought about the future of the program. I feel confident in the program and what he wants to do.”
Regardless of the coach, Columbia is where Cook wants to be.
“I’ve always wanted to play for Mizzou. That’s the school for me,” Cook said. “I’ve always been a fan. My mom and uncle graduated from there. I’ve watched all the good quarterbacks there from Blaine Gabbert to James Franklin to Drew Lock. It’s nice to be one.
“I think I’ll be able to make a good transition. I think Chaminade has helped me get ready,” Cook said. “I played the best competition in St. Louis the last four years. I’ve seen lots of other guys go D-I. I know going to the SEC is a big step. I feel prepared.”
Cook used his freshman year at Chaminade to study under senior quarterback Michael McGovern, who led the Ivy League with 220.3 passing yards per game last season at Brown.
“Coming in as a freshman, I had big goals. In my freshman year, I made some big steps,” Cook said. “I learned a lot from Michael McGovern. I took over the reins in my sophomore year. Chaminade was a good fit for me. I was pretty nervous my first couple of games as a sophomore. But high school football is so much fun. I already miss it.”
Torry knew he was getting a good athlete when Cook came to Chaminade.
“When Brady came out as a freshmen, I knew he had the smarts, determination, athleticism and skill set to be a great quarterback,” Torry said. “I knew when he developed physically, he would be really special. I’ve watched him gain 70 pounds of muscle over two years working extremely hard in the weight room.”
Cook has all the tools to be a productive college quarterback. He can be a pocket passer. He believes the thing that sets him apart is his playmaking ability.
“I can make plays with my feet. I can scramble,” Cook said. “I can more than sit it the pocket. I can make plays.”
For the first two years, Torrey said the coaching staff “allowed Brady to grow around the successful offense we had in place,”
For his final season, Torrey made some adjustments.
“His senior year, we changed the system to fit Brady and he blossomed,” Torrey said. “We went to a no-huddle offense this year and increased our passing attempts from 15 per game to 27 attempts per game.”
Torrey liked what he saw.
“Brady drives the ball better than any quarterback I have ever seen,” Torry said. “His arm strength and physical strength is second to none.”
He doesn’t know if he’ll punt yet at Missouri. He likes it. And he’s good. Cook is a two-time first-team all-state punter.
“I’ve always been able to punt pretty well,” Cook said. “I’ve gotten pretty dang good at it. Punting is fun. I love it.”
Chaminade helped him in more than just football, Cook said.
“It was just a successful place for me to be at. Off the field, Chaminade molded me into the man I am today,” Cook said. “I got good grades, good ACT scores. The bonds you make with teachers and other students are just great. It’s a smaller school. That’s a great thing.
“Coach Torrey has done so much for me. We’ve been working side by side what feels like 10 years now. We’ve worked together so much and so hard on this offense and this school. He’s taught me pretty much everything I know. He’s taught me what real football is like, how to take a hit like a man and get back up. I thank him for that.”
As he leaves Chaminade, Cook is a little wistful about missing his last semester.
“It went by so fast and now deciding to enroll early in college, I look back now, and I think, this went by fast,” Cook said. “I’m almost in college. I enjoyed my time at Chaminade but I wish it went a little slower.”
So does Torrey.
“Brady has improved every year and met his goal to play at Mizzou,” Torrey said. “I am so proud of him and how he represented our football program while maintaining a 4.0 grade point average. He is a class act and lifts others up around him. He handles pressure well and for Brady it has always been about his teammates not himself.
“It will be an adjustment for us to prepare without Brady Cook on our field but we are excited about the opportunities others will have to grow and develop as Brady did. Brady will do great things for coach Drinkwitz at Mizzou. I am excited to watch his career continue to grow.”