Alex Cook and Asa Turner are about to be bonded by more than a position, a program … or a cosmic coincidence.
Cook — a sixth-year safety from Sacramento — is expecting his first child with his girlfriend, Eunique Washington, on Dec. 13. When they found out this summer that they’d be having a boy, Washington immediately had a name in mind.
It had little to do with Cook’s fellow safety starter.
“I didn’t come up with the name ‘Asa.’ My girlfriend did,” Cook clarified last week. “It’s funny, because my girlfriend has never met (UW safety Asa Turner). She just had that name in her head once we found out it was a boy.
“But before we even knew if it was a boy or decided on the name, I knew I wanted Asa to be the godfather.”
You read that right. Alex Cook will soon welcome Asa Cook to the world … after playing his final collegiate season alongside the baby’s godfather, Asa Turner.
In a program former Husky coach Jimmy Lake often touted as having “uncommon unity,” Cook and Turner’s connection transcends team.
“Asa was one of the first people I told that I was having a kid, and he was so excited,” Cook said. “I was kind of keeping it under wraps. The only people I told were Asa and my dad and my mom. Asa’s reaction was probably the greatest thing ever. He was like, ‘Man, I’ll be there for the kid. Whatever you need, man. I’ll babysit. I’ll do whatever I have to do to take stress off your plate.’
“That really stuck with me throughout the process of the pregnancy. I’m like, ‘Man, if a dude is that passionate about somebody else’s kid, why not make him the godfather?’”
Granted, Cook and Turner didn’t grow up together, and they arrived in Seattle two years apart. But while playing through a pandemic and a pair of coaching changes, they started seven games side-by-side.
And that’s just the start.
“They’re just veteran guys, man. What else can you say besides that?” offered UW co-defensive coordinator and safeties coach Chuck Morrell. “Their ownership extends way beyond what you guys see out here on the practice field. It’s the hours and hours of study. It’s the extra training. It’s the extra work taking care of their bodies. It’s such a premium level of investment that breeds confidence when those guys step out here, and obviously they’re guys who have played a lot of football.”
Added Cook: “We built this relationship during our time at UW. The 2020 season was our first season as starters together. It’s a different kind of relationship you have with people you’re on the field with, let alone in practice. There’s a natural bond you build. Carrying into 2021, when we became starters again, that bond just kept growing and growing.
“I tell people this all the time: I see Asa as one of my blood brothers. It was a no-brainer for me to make him the godfather of my kid.”
Come the season opener against Kent State on Sept. 3, Cook and Turner are expected to once again start side by side.
Only now, they’re playing for more than themselves, or their team, or a championship.
“I think it’s special, because he knows if something were to happen to me, that it would have an impact on my kid. So he’s out there trying to protect me,” Cook said. “And he’s the godfather, and I don’t want anything to happen to him, so I’m out there trying to protect him.
“While we’re playing, we’re thinking about these things. That relationship we have is going to translate so well onto the football field.”
Well enough, hopefully, for Washington to rebound from a frustrating 4-8 season — and for Cook and Turner to make memories to someday relay to Asa Cook.
“When the kid grows up we’ll be able to tell him stories, watch film with the kid,” Turner said with a smile last week. “It’s big-time. I’m excited.”
- UW wide receivers and expected starters Jalen McMillan, Rome Odunze and Ja’Lynn Polk each caught 11,000 balls this offseason to prepare for the fall, McMillan said last week. Of course, that’s only after they made the joint decision to remain at UW following Lake’s firing and wide receivers coach Junior Adams’ departure to Oregon. “We all came together (after Adams left) and we were scared,” McMillan said. “I remember there was one day where we all talked on the phone. We were in a group chat and we all just came together, and it was a special moment. We’ll probably be tight for life.”
- After UW sixth-year left tackle Jaxson Kirkland called new offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach Ryan Grubb “the best-kept secret in college football” at Pac-12 Media Day, junior quarterback Michael Penix Jr. was asked to describe Grubb last week. “He’s unreal,” Penix said. “He pushes us. He makes sure nobody gets any slack. He’s a guy that’s always going to be the same person every day. He’s going to come in and make sure we’re all locked in. It’s not play time. That’s how it should be. He’s always trying to make sure everyone is dialed in each and every rep, and that’s who coach Grubb is. He’s a guy who really wants to be great and really believes that we can win championships here. Everybody has belief in him as well. He’s a real great coach.”
- UW is holding an open practice and picture day on Sunday. The practice takes place inside Husky Stadium from 9:20 a.m. until 11:05 a.m., after which fans will be welcomed onto the field to take pictures with players, coaches, Dubs and spirit team members until noon.