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senior day 2023

“Holding yourself accountable when no one is watching:” Cook reflects on Irish career

| Friday, November 17, 2023

Notre Dame Athletics
Senior wide receiver Henry Cook catches a pass during a practice at Notre Dame Stadium.

Attending Catholic Saint Ignatius High School only a few hours away in Cleveland, Ohio, Henry Cook was a perfect fit for Notre Dame. The senior wide receiver walked on all four years of his collegiate career, adeptly balancing life as a student-athlete. A business analytics major, Cook is set to work at the BlackArch investment bank after graduation. His time at the university and with the football team has shaped and prepared him for this next chapter. 

Making the transition from high school to college comes with challenges. Cook remembers having to do a lot of things on his own for the first time but being well-prepared thanks to high school. He described his first experiences with the team, particularly joining during the COVID-19 year.

“I only knew two kids on the team coming in with Liam Eichenberg and Chris Velotta, so having a few familiar faces made it comfortable at first.” Cook adds, “It was definitely a cool experience, just really quick, you get here and hit the ground running, but I’ve loved it. It’s been a great four years.”

As a part of the scout team, Cook’s role has developed across three different defensive coordinators: Clark Lea, Marcus Freeman and now Al Golden. He highlighted Freeman’s implementation of Scout Team Player of the Week as a reflection of the scout team’s importance. 

“Your hard work is definitely appreciated and people notice it,” Cook said. “Players will tell you that, on the defense, the starters appreciate the work so just kind of showing up every day, giving it your all and trying to make plays. It was definitely really fun.” 

While Cook could not point to a single game as his career highlight, he mentioned the triumphant feeling of overcoming an ACL injury during his sophomore year. That was not the first time he endured a serious injury. Cook tore his other ACL in high school. Cook said that with an unrelenting commitment to the rehab process, he overcame the obstacle. He attributes his confidence in returning to the field to the teammates he worked with in the weight room, the training staff and strength coaches who all pushed him to get better. 

“Getting back into playing football after missing it for so long… it was definitely just great to kind of be back out there doing fall camp and scout team again,” Cook recalled. ”You really appreciate it and enjoy that experience.”

Cook shared the biggest lesson from his experience at Notre Dame, one that he will carry into his post-graduation work. 

“A sense of holding yourself accountable when no one is watching,” he said. 

Playing on the scout team, it may have been easier not to give full effort every practice. However, in making the most of every single rep and opportunity that came his way, Cook put those words to action in his four years and will continue to do so in the future.

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