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ATHLETE SPOTLIGHT: Q&A with Eastside's Noah Cook
Eastside's two-sport athlete talks football recruiting, return to pitching
Noah Cook
Eastside's Noah Cook is looking forward to getting back on the mound as a pitcher this season. -photo by Sydney Chacon

COVINGTON, Ga. — When you’re Noah Cook, there really is no offseason. 

That’s not just because the Eastside junior commits himself to the year-round grind of one sport, but because Cook stars for the Eagles in two sports. 

Barely a month after Cook led the Eastside football team to an unprecedented, undefeated season, a Region 4-AAAA championship and a deep state playoffs run, the 6-foot-2, 170-pound quarterback promptly became the preseason second-team all-state shortstop and pitcher for Eastside’s baseball team. 

But here’s the funny thing: Because he threw for well over 2,000 yards, rushed for close to 500, threw 26 touchdown passes to just three interceptions and displayed unquestionable leadership on the field, in a sense, Cook isn’t done with football yet, even as the baseball season eases into full throttle. 

We had a chance to chat with Cook in between practices, games and college visits about the football season that was, the increase in recruiting attention he’s receiving and his excitement about getting back to the pitching mound for Eastside this year. 

STOVALL: First of all, with such a long football season, and now you starting to get some football recruiting attention, what’s the transition between both sports been like? How has it been different this year than last year? 

COOK: “It’s really been crazy, especially after having a very successful football season. But it’s been fun. Last year coming off the injury I had, it was definitely — I wouldn’t say harder, but more of a challenge — getting back to where I needed to be. But this year with the football season being as long as it was, and me being healthy, thankfully, and being able to remain healthy, it helped me get stronger. So now the transition to baseball has been more getting back to seeing the ball and fielding instead of just worrying about being able to swing the bat.

“But it’s been fun. I’ve been trying to carry over the success from football to baseball, keeping that same intensity and leadership role I had in football and bringing that over to baseball as well.” 

STOVALL: One of the things that’s been different for you football wise is the fact that people are noticing your talents more. You recently went on visits to Georgia State and Samford. What were those like? 

COOK: “The visits were absolutely amazing and just a lot of fun. It’s also been motivational for me too, to know that coaches and recruiters are starting to take notice of my abilities. And at the same time, my main thing has been not to lose focus at what’s going on, and still remain humble to myself and just be thankful for the opportunities given to me. Right now it’s just interest and no offers, but hopefully that will change pretty soon.” 

STOVALL: Obviously there’s quite a bit of difference in the physicality of football and baseball. How does the way you prepare for one differ from the other? 

COOK: “You definitely have to be prepared for everything in both cases with both sports. But the main thing you have to get used to sometimes with playing baseball is that you’re playing in the middle of the afternoon when it’s unbelievably hot. Sometimes it’s two games and you’re just out there in the heat, and it becomes more mental than it is physical. I guess with football, it can be the same way, but there’s more contact and sometimes more movement. With football, it can be tough playing in the cold because those hits hurt a bit more in the cold.” 

Noah Cook
Eastside's Noah Cook threw for 2,100 yards and rushed for 385 while scoring a combined 33 touchdowns with only three interceptions during a stellar junior season in 2018. Cook will be one of the top returning signal callers in Class AAAA next season, while also carving out a reputation as one of the state's best baseball prospects. -photo Sydney Chacon

STOVALL: In that season opening win at Rockdale, we saw you come out of the infield and on to the pitcher’s mound. I think that’s the first time I’ve seen you pitch. Is this something we can look forward to going forward?

COOK: “Yeah, it was fun. I love pitching, and it’s always something I’ve kind of done. I didn’t pitch much last year or my freshman year, but it’s something that I’m excited about doing a lot more of this year. I guess it’s almost like the same thing with being a quarterback. I love it because you come in contact with the ball a lot more and it makes you feel a lot more involved in the game.” 

STOVALL: How good can this Eastside baseball team be this year after a deep postseason run last year?

COOK: “I think the thing is with us this year is we all want the same goal. All of us are following and believing what coach (Brandon) Crumbley is telling us, really since last year. I think what’s going to stand out with us is our heart and the way we handle adversity. Like the other night (against Rockdale), we scored six runs, and then they came back and scored five, and then we came back and scored three more and closed the game out, so it’s like we’re not allowing small things to get to us. 

“I feel like our bats are very strong this year. We’ve got hitters, and a lot are young, but they’re solid. A big thing with us, I think, is that our pitching is going to be a lot better than what a lot of people expect. We had such strong arms last year that a lot of other guys who can pitch didn’t get to because the guys we had, their arms were so strong and efficient. But this year, it’s almost like everybody on the team can pitch.” 

STOVALL: So here’s the big question. Football or baseball. If you have to choose, which one is your first love and why? Which one would you want to play most in college?

COOK: “That’s the talk I have all the time with people. It’s hard, because I’ve played both of them ever since I was able to. Like, I first played football when I was four years old in the fall, and then that next spring I started playing baseball, so it’s hard to say which one because I’ve loved them both. It’s hard not to be able to see myself playing either one of them. 

“It’s definitely going to come down to what is the best opportunity for me and my family and what best suits me and my future for the long run. And I guess at that time, I’ll be doing a lot of praying and letting God help me. It’ll be such a major decision, so when that time comes, yeah, it’ll be a lot of praying and talking with family and coaches and determining what suits me best and gives me the best chance to excel.”