It’s been just over 20 years since Ferriday’s Kerwin Cook splashed onto the college football scene in a big way his sophomore season at Tulane University.
But Autozone Liberty Bowl officials certainly remember that day very well.
The Autozone Liberty Bowl released its 1990s All-Decade Team and Cook is one of three wide receivers named to the team.
“One of my former teammates sent me a message and told me, so I went and looked and I was very surprised,” Cook said.
In 1998, Tulane completed an undefeated season with a 41-27 win over Brigham Young as bowl MVP Shaun King accounted for three touchdowns (two passing, one rushing).
Cook caught four passes for 123 yards, including a 60-yard touchdown play early in the third quarter that put the Green Wave up 27-6.
“I was just playing my role in the offense,” Cook said. “On the touchdown, I was running a corner post and Shaun was rolling to the right. I was on the left side and had one-on-one coverage. I was in the middle of the field and Shaun threw the ball to me. I was able to make a move and get past the cornerback and then it was wide open.”
It was Cook’s first touchdown as a Green Wave.
“It felt real good,” Cook said
King, Air Force quarterback Rob Perez and Donovan McNabb were quarterbacks on the team.
Running backs and receivers named to the team were Cook, Malcolm Thomas of Syracuse, Antowain Smith of Houston, Jake Hoffart of Pittsburgh and Sherrod Gideon of Southern Mississippi.
“It’s a big honor when you look at the names of the players on that team,” Cook said.
Tulane went into the game ranked No. 10 in the nation.
The Green Wave finished 12-0 and ranked No. 7 in the nation. Tennessee at 13-0 was the No. 1 team and the only other undefeated team in the Top 25.
“Anytime you beat every opponent it’s amazing,” Cook said. “Some people talked about our schedule, but after we won a couple of games we were getting everybody’s best game and they were ready for us. We were underdogs in a lot of those games. A lot of people didn’t think we were as good as we were. But we proved them different.”
After a standout career at Ferriday High, Cook signed with Tulane, where he caught 115 passes for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns.
He also returned three kickoffs for 44 yards.
Cook’s 14 touchdown receptions is still tied for 13th among career touchdown receptions by a Tulane player.
Cook signed as a free agent with the Seattle Seahawks in 2001 and signed with the New Orleans Saints the following year.
Cook works for Red Ball Oxygen Inc., in Shreveport.
Cook suffered a stroke in 2017.
“That changed my life and my perspective on life,” Cook said. “I went from being an athlete and independent to not being able to walk or talk. I had taken a lot for granted before that.”
Cook recovered to the point of returning to work and now books motivational speaking engagements.
“I talk to people who have been through the same type of deal, but were unable to recover the way I have,” Cook said. “I tell them to keep pushing. My doctors were amazed at my recovery and how fast I was able to come back.”
Cook said he still keeps up with his former Tulane teammates.
“We had a reunion last year at Tulane’s Homecoming game,” he said. “We promised to continue having reunions. And I visited P.J. Franklin recently when I was in Houston. It’s always great to visit with friends and teammates.”