Shadow Creek linebacker Terrence Cooks (33) pursues Hutto running back Mekhi Kimble (22) during a playoff game on Nov 22, 2019 in Waller. [JOHN GUTIERREZ/FOR STATESMAN]

Football

Commitment 101: Four-star linebacker Terrence Cooks fills Texas recruiting need

Posted November 14th, 2020

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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.

Alvin Shadow Creek outside linebacker Terrence Cooks ranks 44th on the 2021 Fabulous 55. (Mike Craven)

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.”

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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.

PLAYERPOS.HIGH SCHOOLSTARSCOMMITMENT DATE
Hayden ConnerOTKaty Taylor4July 23 (2019)
Juan DavisWR/TEEverman3July 26 (2019)
Derrick Harris Jr.DENew Caney4Aug. 3 (2019)
Ja'Tavion SandersATHDenton Ryan5Sept. 8 (2019)
Jordon ThomasDEPort Arthur Memorial4May 2
Morice BlackwellOLBArlington Martin4May 10
Jonathon BrooksRBHallettsville3May 15
Casey CainWRWarren Easton (La.)3May 15
Isaac PearsonPProKick AustrailiaNRMay 29
Ishmael IbraheemCBDallas Kimball4June 15
JD CoffeySKennedale4June 15
Jamier JohnsonCBJohn Muir (Pasadena, Calif.)4July 3
Gunnar HelmTECherry Creek (Englewood, Colo.)3July 27
Michael MyslinskiCBishop Kennedy (Jacksonville, Fla.)3Aug. 6
Jaden AlexisWRMonarch Prep (Pompano Beach, Fla.)3Aug. 8
Charles WrightQBAustin3Aug. 22
Max MerrilOTStrake Jesuit3Sept. 25
Terrence CooksOLBAlvin Shadow Creek4Nov. 14
Byron Murphy IIDTDeSoto3Nov. 18

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