At 6-foot-2, 205-pounds, Jake Cook looks like an every-day high school athlete.
But the Mainland Regional senior can run the 40-yard dash in 4.5 seconds.
He can soar above the rim to dunk a basketball.
“I don’t think people look at me and think I can do much,” he said with a laugh. “People are like, ‘Holy crap, he can dunk.’”
Cook is one of the Cape-Atlantic League’s top athletes. He’s led the Mustangs boys basketball team to a 3-2 start, scoring 30 points in a 63-40 win over Colts Neck last weekend. Mainland next hosts rival Ocean City at 5:30 p.m. Friday.
In football, he caught 43 passes for 699 yards and seven touchdowns to help the Mustangs go 10-1 and win the West Jersey Football Independence Division title.
Rutgers University and Delaware have offered the Somers Point resident a spot on their football teams as a preferred walk-on. Several other schools, including Monmouth University, are also recruiting him.
Cook, 17, is the oldest of Jake and Amber Cook’s two children. His 13-year-old brother Cohen is a promising football, basketball and baseball player.
In a telephone interview Monday, Cook discussed several topics, including his thoughts on the Mainland/Ocean City rivalry.
On his struggles with basketball when he started playing
I was just really, really into football. I would get really frustrated trying to shoot. My form was terrible, and everybody else was so ahead of me. Freshman year came, and I just wanted to be better than everybody else, so I worked hard at it.
On being an older brother
He (Cohen) is way better than I was at his age. I want him to be better than me. If we’re two years apart or a year apart, I feel like we would be battling, battling, battling. But with that four years age difference, I want him to be better than me.
On how big sports are in his family
They’re huge part of our lives. My mom is the president of the Somers Point Sharks (of the Atlantic County Junior Football League). My dad is always helping. He’s coaching basketball with my little brother. My mom is always at the game. We’re into street hockey, too. My dad has been coaching that forever.
On the rivalry between Mainland and Ocean City
It’s an awesome rivalry. I don’t think many schools have one like ours. There’s a fire all the time. There’s a fire between the two schools. It’s really special. We’re going to come out and give it everything we got every time against Ocean City. The preparation and practice for (Ocean City) games is at another level.
On what he does to relax
I’m kind of just sports, sports, sports. I play some video games, but I don’t have a favorite one. I like going to the gym, putting headphones on and just working out.
On the basketball season so far
We should be 5-0. We’ve given away games. In my heart, I know we should be 5-0. But we can be something special. We’ve been together a long time. We’re not the biggest team, but we know how to move the ball.Q&A
Who’s your favorite athlete and why?
Tom Brady: He’s old now, but he’s still doing his thing.
Favorite food to order when out for dinner
If the television is on, I’m watching …
What was the last movie you saw in the theater?