Kerry Cooks Brings a Diverse Recruiting Background to LSU – CalBearsMaven

When LSU Head Coach Brian Kelly began building his coaching staff, a familiar name was Kerry Cooks. He’s worked with Coach Kelly for six years during two separate stints with the Fighting Irish, as well as gaining valuable experience at other important college programs during his playing and coaching career.
The Arlington (Texas) Nimitz product signed with and played for Iowa (1994-1997) and was drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the 1998 NFL Draft. After a short NFL career (1998; 2000-2001), as well as playing in the XFL (2001), Cooks went into coaching soon thereafter.
He started at his high school alma mater, Nimitz (2003), and continued up the ladder into the college ranks at Kansas State (2003) later that same year as a graduate assistant. His next move was to Western Illinois (2004) where Coach Cooks earned his first coaching position as a defensive backs and special teams coach. From there, he’s left a wide footprint for coaching, as well as recruiting.
Coach Cooks spent time recruiting for Minnesota (2005), Wisconsin (2006-2009), Notre Dame (2010-2014; 2020-2021), Oklahoma (2015-2018) and Texas Tech (2019).
For a closer look at the actual hiring of Cooks, LSU Country has an excellent introductory article to read and digest his overall background:
LSU Officially Announces Kerry Cooks to Defensive Staff
As for recruiting, there are several points to note here. First off, this is someone that’s very personable. Anyone that met Coach Cooks will likely tell another person that he’s down to earth, easy going, and hard not to like. As for geography, all those different stops at college programs will help the Tigers along the recruiting trail, as will his background in Dallas, Texas.
Arlington is a city just 20 miles west of downtown Dallas. It’s a part of one of the nation’s best high school football areas. Coach Cooks lived there, played there for Nimitz and he’s recruited there for the better part of 20 years.
He’s all but assured to be assigned Dallas as his primary recruiting territory. LSU signed one Dallas area player in 2018, two in 2019, one in 2020, and one in 2021.
The Tigers do not currently hold a commitment from a Texas prospect for 2022, and LSU fans can bet their bottom dollar that will change with Coach Cooks on the LSU staff for the class of 2023, if not even the class of 2022.
As clarification, there are two National Signing Days. The first will be Dec. 15, this Wednesday. The second will be Feb. 2, 2022, the first Wednesday of that month. There’s plenty of time for Coach Cooks to lure a player to Baton Rouge from the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex and sign with LSU.
To that end, here are some other key components of Coach Cooks’ experience along the recruiting trail.
Having spent time at Kansas State, West Illinois, Minnesota, Wisconsin and Notre Dame, he’s going to know the Midwest well. LSU is not suddenly going to bring in five prospects from Chicago, but landing one elite Midwest prospect to supplement Louisiana and Dixie talent in general will be welcomed.
That’s certainly an obtainable goal for any given recruiting class. He’s also spent time visiting prospects across the country while recruiting for Notre Dame, a program that’s always recruited nationally. From California to Virginia, Coach Cooks has been a part of numerous in-home visits with top-notch football recruits.
There’s also another category to consider, and it might be the most valuable as LSU has spread its recruiting efforts far beyond Louisiana and the surrounding states adjacent to Louisiana during the past decade.
Coach Cooks understands the evaluation process and versatility quite well. Case in point, in 2012 Notre Dame signed KeiVarae Russell from Everett (Wash.) Mariner. He was planning to play running back for the Irish, but ended up being a cornerback due to an untimely injury at cornerback to a veteran Notre Dame player.
Coach Cooks, as well as Kelly, understood Russell’s overall value included playing multiple positions. In fact, cornerback was a position that was vetted for Russell just like running back while he was being recruited by the Irish.
Russell quickly took over the starting cornerback position in South Bend and helped Notre Dame to an undefeated regular season.
Finding and oftentimes directly coaching these versatile athletes is something that Coach Cooks has done at each of his stops. It will be a valuable asset for his new venture with the LSU Football program.
Overall, Coach Cooks has the experience of recruiting in some critical areas like Dallas, as well as being well versed in states across the country. He’s going to be a true asset to LSU’s recruiting efforts.

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