Recruiting Diary: Missouri's Kendal Cook
Softball America has launched a series called Recruiting Diaries, which chronicles the recruiting journeys of current college softball players around the country. In this series, we take a look at the unique recruiting experiences of talented softball student-athletes from various teams and conferences within the NCAA.
We continue the series with freshman utility player Kendal Cook's story. Cook, who is originally from New York, landed in the SEC at Missouri after a coaching change led her to reopen her recruiting process.
Learn her story below.
Travel Team: Rhode Island Thunder Gold
Final College Choices: Missouri, Hofstra, UMass, Coastal Carolina, Clemson
Her Story: I’m from New York, so I used to play for a travel team called the Conklin Raiders. In Conklin, we did throwing camps with (former Hofstra head coach) Bill Edwards and he told me before I committed that he wanted me to check out Hofstra University, which is also in New York. So, I took his advice and went and visited there, which is where Coach Larissa Anderson was the head coach at the time. My first visit there was in eighth grade. I really liked the campus a lot and it felt like home, so I committed there during March of my freshman year.
Then, junior year came around. The same day that my high school team won Sectionals, Larissa (Anderson) texted all of her recruits saying that she had left Hofstra and took the job at Mizzou. After that, I decommitted from Hofstra to reopen my recruiting process. That summer, I played summer ball with the Rhode Island Thunder Gold and contacted a lot of schools.
After PGF in California, Larissa asked me to stop at Mizzou on my way back to New York, so I stopped there and got the tour of campus. I loved it and loved everything about the SEC and about Mizzou. So then, about two weeks later, I committed to Mizzou.
Why Missouri?: Larissa was definitely a big reason why I came to Mizzou. She’s been a role model to me since my eighth-grade year. I’ve also always wanted to be an SEC athlete. It’s every girl’s dream growing up to play the best competition out there and the best of the best. All of the resources they have for us at Mizzou are great, too. We have so many different facilities here and people to talk to like sports psychologists and academic resources, which really helps a lot. Everything here is just amazing.
Thoughts On The Recruiting Process: Honestly, before the rule was implemented about not being able to talk to recruits before September 1 of their junior year, it was a scary process. If you didn’t commit young, you felt like you weren’t good enough and it put some self-doubt in your mind.
But now that the rule has been implemented, I feel like it’s a fair game. Everyone has a chance to grow. Junior year is really your peak (in high school). Before the rule, the SEC schools could just take all of the good recruits when they were 12, compared to now, when everyone has a fair shot at any school they want to go to.
Best Recruiting Advice: I know everyone typically wants to go to (Power Five) schools, but I was committed to the CAA, and I thought that was just as amazing. Don’t doubt the other schools that are looking at you just because of the conference they are in. There are tons of other conferences that are just as amazing as the big conferences. And also, just keep working and take advantage of the time you spend working on the little things.