Commitment analysis: Rivals100 ATH Mookie Cooper to Texas
The Texas Longhorns are hosting a big junior day in Austin this weekend, and it just resulted in a major pick-up of Rivals100 athlete Mookie Cooper from St. Louis. Cooper, who hails from the same Trinity Catholic program that saw class of 2019 four-star wide receiver Marcus Washington sign with the Longhorns, announced his commitment Saturday afternoon.
HOW IT WENT DOWN
A Rivals100 prospect since the very first ranking of the 2019 class, Cooper is a dynamic athlete prospect who could project to several skill positions on offense, or even in the defensive backfield. At Trinity Catholic this past season he had to share touches with the likes of fellow four-stars Isaiah Williams, Washington and Reggie Love in the Titan’s offense, Cooper still managed to rack up 1,153 yards of total offense and score 18 times as a junior. Two of those touchdowns came via punt return, where Cooper averaged 29.1 yards per return on the season.
Cooper had a stand out performance at the Under Armour Future 50 camp earlier this winter, where his speed and versatility were on display. The four-star athlete prospect worked out with the wide receivers during position drills, but took reps at both running back and in the slot during one-on-ones. From a skill set standpoint, Cooper is not dissimilar to class of 2019 four-star athlete Wandale Robinson, who signed with Nebraska in December.
The recruitment of Cooper started the winter of his freshman year with an offer from Illinois, which was followed by offers from 28 more schools representing each of the Power Five Conferences. Texas was one of the first five offers for Cooper, coming through early in his sophomore season. That relationship grew with a visit to Austin last June, which was then followed by a game visit in September to see the Longhorns host USC. His teammate, Washington, was on an official visit with Texas that Sept. 14 weekend and would commit to head coach Tom Herman six weeks later.
Cooper released a top 10 on Christmas Eve and took unofficial visits to Georgia, Missouri and Nebraska in the last month. On Feb. 4 he tweeted that his recruitment was still completely open, but this weekend’s junior day visit cinched the deal for the Longhorns and Cooper made the commitment official Saturday.
WHY IT’S BIG FOR TEXAS
Trinity Catholic is developing into a consistent producer of top talent. Cooper is one of four four-star prospects the school has in the classes of 2019 and 2020 combined, and Texas has now landed two of them. The Lone Star State is always going to be Texas’ primary talent pool from which it builds its roster from, but being able to have pipelines in other areas of the country that can complement and bolster your primary recruiting region will help the Longhorns continue their current streak of top five recruiting classes. Texas has not offered any other prospects at Trinity Catholic yet, but the school has three more in the 2020 class who hold Power Five offers, including four-star running back Reggie Love.
Texas has talked with Cooper about their h-receiver position, which would incorporate elements of running back and slot receiver. That kind of role would allow Cooper to get the ball in space and utilize his explosiveness and game-breaking ability. Additionally, the four-star athlete should be able to contribute early in the return game for the Longhorns.
WHICH SCHOOLS IT HURTS MOST
Illinois did a lot right in this recruitment. Lovie Smith’s staff was the first in with an offer for Cooper when he was just a freshman. A year later Smith hired Trinity Catholic head coach Cory Patterson to be his tight ends coach in Champaign. Class of 2019 prospects Isaiah Williams and Shammond Cooper both signed with the Fighting Illini this winter, giving Cooper more familiar faces in Champaign. There probably was not a school Cooper has visited more often in this process than Illinois, but the Illini were still not able to land the four-star junior. The other school feeling a particularly strong sting here is Missouri, where head coach Barry Odom has done a much better job in recent classes of keeping more Show-Me-State talent at home. Both Missouri and Illinois made Cooper’s initial cut down to ten schools in December, but both have to watch him go down south to a Texas program that is establishing a stronger foothold in the St. Louis area.