Male Athlete of the Year Sam Cook talks about his sports career at Fort Dodge with Joe O’Donnell.
After his senior season at Fort Dodge — wherein he was Class 4A’s fourth-leading rusher in the fall and an unbeaten state champion on the mat in the winter — Sam Cook decided to put his wrestling dreams on hold and walk on to the Iowa football team.
A year later, Cook has had a change of heart. After spending the fall of 2016 as a redshirt on the Iowa football team, he’s opted to step away from the gridiron to walk on to the Hawkeye wrestling team.
“He was fired up when I talked to him about it,” Fort Dodge wrestling coach Bobby Thompson said. “He reached out to a lot of people that are close to him. I think he’ll contribute a lot, I think, to the University of Iowa wrestling team.”
Cook was a standout two-sport athlete for Fort Dodge from 2013-16. He was a four-year varsity football player and racked up 3,274 combined rushing yards and 41 total touchdowns during his junior and senior seasons — which included 1,838 yards and 25 touchdowns during the latter.
He followed both football campaigns with state wrestling championships. As a junior, Cook went 42-1 en route to the Class 3A 195-pound state title. He followed that with a second-consecutive state championship as a senior, during which he went 45-0.
After the season, Cook was tabbed as The Des Moines Register’s All-Iowa Male High School Athlete of the Year for 2015-16. His wrestling offer sheet at the time included Oklahoma and Cal Poly, but he opted to walk on at Iowa instead.
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“I know he struggled to choose whether to play football or wrestle,” Thompson said. “He had some good offers for wrestling. But he put his heart into football. He…