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Recruiting: UT adds Terrence Cooks to C/O 2021

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By: IT staff

The defensive side of the ball has been kind to Texas’ Class of 2021 this cycle. Well, it just got even better.

Alvin Shadow Creek four-star linebacker Terrence Cooks II committed to Texas today over LSU, Georgia, and Baylor. The 6-foot-2, 210-pound inside backer announced his decision in front of family and friends today.

UT has been the silent leader for most of the year, especially after his unofficial visit to Austin in January. His and his family’s relationship with LB coach Coleman Hutzler, combined with the academics and tradition of Texas Football, seemed to close the deal.

Excerpt from the Recruiting Notebook:

Terrence Cooks, Shadow Creek (Alvin, TX) – LB (2021)

How he fits at Texas: Cooks could project to any linebacker position but he plays with recognition and power downhill that would make inside linebacker his most valuable place for Texas. Shadow Creek plays a three-down defense similar to the Todd Orlando scheme and Cooks was an outside linebacker in that system, playing in space at times and up on the edge at others. He’s very comfortable moving laterally and playing in coverage and brings some thunder when he closes downhill. There’s a good chance he could grow into a 6-foot-2, 240-pound linebacker that still moves well enough to stay on the field against the spread. – Ian Boyd

Coach says
Strengths – Well proportioned and tall with long arms. Plenty of room for bulk. A long-strider with impressive straight line speed. Feet are constantly active and he fires them quickly to establish directional change and to anchor for leverage. Looks very comfortable in space as a zone defender and coming downhill. Good gap discipline and does a nice job of fitting, squaring up and making a play. Solid hitter in the run game. Looks very instinctive at the line of scrimmage. Great hustle plays on tape and never gives up on a play. Frequently swats at the ball (think Derrick Johnson) which could result in quite a few turnovers. A big special teams contributor on both punt block and kickoff coverage teams with some solid highlights for both. Very hard to find opponent film that makes him look bad.

Areas for Improvement / Concern: Hardly any man-to-man coverage highlights. Change of direction appears to show a sharp loss of speed and slow acceleration/recovery on camp highlights in 1-on-1 coverage. Pass rush repertoire appears a bit raw.

How this affects Texas: When UT offered last November, they were one of the first schools to really pursue the 5A DI state champion linebacker. At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, the four-star with 35 offers is a natural inside backer with instincts and skills that translate well at the next level. Texas, OU, and Texas A&M are probably the top schools today, but watch Stanford. He visited Austin back in January, bringing his mother and little brother, Tyler, who will also be a top recruit in a few years. That was huge. His mom is a big fan of Texas, the staff, and the academic side of the university. He’s in no hurry to make a decision, but I think the Horns have the inside track. This kid can play inside or outside for his position, and that is truly difficult to find these days. Staying the course could pay big dividends for UT over the long haul. – Justin Wells (May 2020)

Terrence Cooks in Austin. (Will Gallagher/IT)

Terrence Cooks has some Malik Jefferson to him. That statement will solicit different responses but Jefferson undeniably had significant upside and had a very good junior year.

Like Jefferson, Cooks has a great frame that will comfortably carry 20-25 more pounds. The more comfortable a player carries weight, the more he keeps his movement skills as he grows. Jefferson was catching running backs from behind at 240 pounds. Cooks will have similar ability. He’s uncommonly athletic for the traditional linebacker role. Increasingly, you have to spin a safety down to get the kind of raw athleticism Cooks possesses.

They’re also cerebral, coachable kids, but not the quickest to diagnose. This is where coaching comes in. Cooks will have an advantage in this regard if Coleman Hutzler’s work with DeMarvion Overshown is any indication.

Both have clear ability off the edge, though like Jefferson, Cooks will play inside. He should be an explosive blitzer, not unlike Joseph Ossai and Overshown showed from the middle against West Virginia recently.

Range won’t be a concern, and with good coaching he’ll hold his own between the tackles. Inside Texas has been high on Cooks since the spring. We view him as a top-15 type prospect in the state.

This is a huge development for Hutzler who is showing high aptitude for both recruiting and coaching. – Eric Nahlin

Cooks is the 18th member of Texas’ 2021 recruiting class joining Max Merril (Strake Jesuit – Houston), Charles Wright (Austin High), Jaden Alexis (Monarch – FL), Mike Myslinski (Bishop Kenny – FL), Gunnar Helm (Cherry Creek – CO), Jamier Johnson (John Muir – CA), Ishamel Ibraheem (Dallas Kimball), JD Coffey (Kennedale), Isaac Pearson (ProKick Australia), Casey Cain (Warren Easton – LA), Jonathon Brooks (Hallettsville), Morice Blackwell (Arlington Martin), Jordon Thomas (Port Arthur Memorial), Ja’Tavion Sanders (Denton Ryan), Derrick Harris Jr. (New Caney), Juan Davis (Everman), Hayden Conner (Katy Taylor).