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Cook shrugs off numerous setbacks

Aaron Cook starts at the most important position on the offensive line. On most college football teams, Cook's path to that role would be simple: work hard in his formative years, establish himself as a viable candidate for the spot and work his ...

Dickinson State senior left tackle Aaron Cook
Press Photo by Dustin Monke Dickinson State senior left tackle Aaron Cook, left, is helped off the field by athletic trainer Tim Kreidt during a game against Jamestown College on Sept. 25.

Aaron Cook starts at the most important position on the offensive line.

On most college football teams, Cook's path to that role would be simple: work hard in his formative years, establish himself as a viable candidate for the spot and work his way into it by the time he became an upperclassman.

That wouldn't have been nearly as complicated as how Dickinson State's 6-foot-4, 265-pound senior left tackle became the blind-side protector for quarterback Cody Holland.

After being placed at various positions and fighting through two difficult injuries, Cook enters his final regular season home game in a spot he never imagined he would be when he arrived at DSU in 2006 as a redshirt freshman out of Kelly Walsh High School in Casper, Wyo.

"Where they needed me, they moved me," Cook said. "I've been successful every year they've put me, just helping the team. Offensive tackle was where it stuck and where I've been able to have the most success. It seems to work out for everybody."

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Cook came to DSU hoping to play on the defensive line. He was a stand-up defensive end in high school and his coaches even believed that's where he would be best suited.

But, by the fall of his redshirt freshman season, he had moved to offense and was seeing time as a backup tight end. He's the only lineman on DSU's roster with a reception. He had an 8-yard catch in the second game of his career against Concordia College.

That winter, however, Cook suffered the first of two major injuries. In January 2008, he broke the tibia and fibula in his left leg, causing him to sit out spring football. The next fall, as a sophomore, Cook was moved to the offensive line to help shore up a thin and inexperienced unit.

It was the first time he'd played the position in his life.

"He's a type of kid who accepts a challenge," DSU head coach Hank Biesiot said. "That's one of his strong points. He loves a challenge and accepts a challenge."

Luckily for the Blue Hawks, Cook took to the offensive line like a fish to water. By the middle of the season, he was seeing lots of playing time at both tackle and guard.

"It's never really mattered where he's played, he just wants to play," DSU offensive line coach Pete Leno said. "In that way, he's got a very good attitude."

Cook entered his junior season as one of DSU's most experienced offensive linemen. But in DSU's fourth game of the year, just as he was beginning to come into his own as a left tackle, he went down with a right knee injury. It was later determined he had torn the Anterior Cruciate Ligament and Medial Collateral Ligaments.

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"That was a tough year," Cook said. "It was something I never thought would happen."

The injury meant Cook was in for his second extended rehab in as many years, something that didn't make him too happy.

"Rehab is probably one of the toughest things you can do, especially when you've had to do it as much as I've had to do it," Cook said.

Cook comes back from another, albeit shorter, rehab stint today against Black Hills State.

Related Topics: BLUE HAWKS
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