Texas’ 2021 recruiting class grew to 18 members on Saturday afternoon when outside linebacker Terrence Cooks chose the Longhorns over Baylor, Georgia and LSU. The three-star from Alvin Shadow Creek is the first prospect to commit to Texas since September. Texas defensive coordinator Chris Ash entered the 2021 recruiting cycle needing to improve the quality of depth at the linebacker position.
Cooks, who ranks 44th on the 2021 Fabulous 55, helps achieve that goal.
“It came down to the relationships I have with the coaches,” Cooks said. “It was also about what school clicked with me.”
Cooks held 36 offers.The senior is the 20th-ranked outside linebacker and No. 302 in the nation, according to 247Sports’ composite rankings. Cooks bounced around early in his prep career, attending Houston Christian as a freshman and then Fulshear as a sophomore.
Cooks found a home at Shadow Creek as a junior, helping the Sharks claim the Class 5A Division I state championship over Denton Ryan. He was a second-team all-district selection as a junior, finishing the season with 72 tackles and three forced fumbles. Now, Cooks can look towards his next home. Austin.
“Saturday was a big day for me,” he said. “I’m excited for my next chapter.”
Skill set: Cooks is in the mold of a modern linebacker. He’s big and strong enough to be an enforcer against the inside run, but he sets himself apart with his ability to run. Cooks is more of an overgrown safety than a traditional linebacker. He excels in space. Cooks can run sideline to sideline with most running backs. If coached up properly, he possesses the ability to run with tight ends in the passing game and be the type of player who can stay on the field in every situation and against any formation.
Immediate impact: Texas should return both starters at linebacker in 2021 with the 2020 season not counting against eligibility. Cooks will be well-served learning from Juwan Mitchell and DeMarvion Overshown. He might even push for time in the two-deep if he can pass some of the younger, inexperienced linebackers already on campus. Those players weren’t recruited by Ash. Cooks was hand picked by Texas’ defensive coordinator. The best route to playing time as a true freshman is to contribute on special teams.
Fitting into the program: Cooks was a long-time target of Ash. Cooks left a Texas junior day in February as the top priority at the linebacker position for Texas’ defensive staff. That affection suggests Cooks should be the ideal fit for the direction Ash and the defensive assistants hope to take the program. Cooks can run. He’s a willing tackler who doesn’t shy away from physicality. And he’s an intelligent player and student. Best of all, Cooks plays with an edge. An edge the Longhorns desperately need.
Recruiting at the position: Cooks is the second linebacker to pick Texas, joining four-star Arlington Martin product Morice Blackwell. The Longhorns signed three linebackers in 2020. Cooks and Blackwell form a high-upside duo of linebacker prospects pledged to the Longhorns in 2021, and the pair should compliment each other well. Cooks is more a three-down linebacker who can become the enforcer of the unit. Blackwell is a speedster who can cover. The safe assumption is that Texas is done recruiting linebackers in the 2021 cycle.
|PLAYER||POS.||HIGH SCHOOL||STARS||COMMITMENT DATE|
|Hayden Conner||OT||Katy Taylor||4||July 23 (2019)|
|Juan Davis||WR/TE||Everman||3||July 26 (2019)|
|Derrick Harris Jr.||DE||New Caney||4||Aug. 3 (2019)|
|Ja'Tavion Sanders||ATH||Denton Ryan||5||Sept. 8 (2019)|
|Jordon Thomas||DE||Port Arthur Memorial||4||May 2|
|Morice Blackwell||OLB||Arlington Martin||4||May 10|
|Jonathon Brooks||RB||Hallettsville||3||May 15|
|Casey Cain||WR||Warren Easton (La.)||3||May 15|
|Isaac Pearson||P||ProKick Austrailia||NR||May 29|
|Ishmael Ibraheem||CB||Dallas Kimball||4||June 15|
|JD Coffey||S||Kennedale||4||June 15|
|Jamier Johnson||CB||John Muir (Pasadena, Calif.)||4||July 3|
|Gunnar Helm||TE||Cherry Creek (Englewood, Colo.)||3||July 27|
|Michael Myslinski||C||Bishop Kennedy (Jacksonville, Fla.)||3||Aug. 6|
|Jaden Alexis||WR||Monarch Prep (Pompano Beach, Fla.)||3||Aug. 8|
|Charles Wright||QB||Austin||3||Aug. 22|
|Max Merril||OT||Strake Jesuit||3||Sept. 25|
|Terrence Cooks||OLB||Alvin Shadow Creek||4||Nov. 14|
|Byron Murphy II||DT||DeSoto||3||Nov. 18|