Two freshmen stand out to Smart, Bulldogs teammates

Defensive back Tyson Campbell, from Plantation, Fla., appears poised to see action Saturday against Austin Peay, and running back James Cook, from Miami, is among a cadre of playmakers who have impressed teammates and coaches alike.

“Tyson has come in and picked things up probably more naturally for a defensive back than what I've been used to,” Georgia coach Kirby Smart said of the 6-foot-2, 180-pound Campbell on Monday. “The corner position is probably the easiest to play when you look at our defense because a lot of times they’re man-to-man outside, but there are some checks involved, and he’s handled that well. He's a very mature kid. He's practiced hard. If he can stay away from the injury bug, he's certainly going to play a lot for us.” 

Whatever Campbell may lack in terms of experience, he makes up for it in a significant way.

“He’s fast,” sophomore inside linebacker Monty Rice said. “He’s a good player. He could be the fastest on the defense.”

Cook, the younger brother of Minnesota Vikings back Dalvin Cook, also earned compliments from his coach. 

“He’s very bright,” Smart said Tuesday of the 5-foot-11, 183-pound Cook. “I don’t know how to compare him to (D’Andre) Swift because they’re such different kids. But as far as knowing their roles, I’d say he’s where Swift was. But they’re not the same roles. He’s not as thick as Swift. He’s a different kind of back. He’s more of a slasher type of guy.’’ 

“Cook reminds me a lot of his brother,” receiver Mecole Hardman said. “I know he hates to be compared to his brother like that, but watching him run, if he gets the edge, you’ve got problems. He’s more of a guy who can go from 0 to 100 real fast. He’s already at full-speed before you know. He’s a great addition to the running back room. I think they can use him in different packages to get him the ball.” 

The speedy Cook could also be in the mix if and when the Bulldogs utilize a wildcat formation. 

‘’We’ve tried to mix it up,” said Smart. “(Elijah) Holyfield has done it before. (Brian) Herrien did it on scout team last year. D’Andre (Swift) did it a bunch last year. Demetris Robertson has fooled around with it some. Terry (Godwin) hasn’t been out there. Mecole (Hardman) is still doing it. And we’ve worked with James Cook some. So there are probably six guys that can play in it, and they all have a little different features. We’ve shared that load.’’

Support real journalism. Support local journalism. Subscribe to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution today. See offers.

Your subscription to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution funds in-depth reporting and investigations that keep you informed. Thank you for supporting real journalism.

Related Stories