Making the jump from college sports, to the professional ranks, can be a daunting task; not everyone has what it takes to excel at the next level. With regards to Oregon State junior wide receiver Brandin Cooks, his record setting 2013 campaign proved he’s more than ready to take his talents to the big leagues and his decision to declare for the NFL Draft last week should come as a shock to no one.
The accolades read like a long grocery list for Cooks, who has seen his NFL prospect status elevated to that of fellow PAC-12 receiver cc (USC).
Cooks set OSU, and PAC-12, records this season for receptions (128) and yards (1,730), both of which were set just a season ago by who else, Marqise Lee. Brandin also added the Biletnikoff Trophy to the list of accomplishments, as Lee did last year, and was the first Beaver to win the award since 2005 when Mike Hass was recognized as the best receiver in the country.
Aside from bringing home a National Championship to Oregon State, what more is there left for Brandin Cooks to accomplish as a member of the OSU football team? There’s no doubt that his career in Corvallis has been a bright one.
Not often is it a no-brainer decision to forgo a year of college eligibility, and try your hand at being an NFL pro, but Cooks’ talents are off the charts, and he figures to have more NFL suitors than Markus Wheaton did a season ago, when his own draft stock was soaring.
So as Cooks bids adieu to Corvallis, and Mike Riley’s Beavers, he leaves with a legacy that puts him near the top of the list of best wide receivers to don the orange and black.
Mike Hass has the sentimentality of the fans, Chad Johnson has the star recognition, Sammie Stroughter had the emotional comeback, and James Rodgers had the triple threat ability. Brandin Cooks, however, has it all, and he should be regarded as the best wide receiver to play for Oregon State upon his departure.
While Cooks lacks in total career yards to Mike Hass (3,612 for Cooks to 3,942 for Hass) he did record 6 more total touchdowns than the Beaver legend. Cooks’ first year on the Beavers was rather pedestrian as he failed to gain more than 400 yards of receiving, although he was low on the depth chart, ceding catches to guys like Markus Wheaton, James Rodgers and Joe Halahuni; that’s quite the crowded receiving corps, so it’s no wonder Cooks didn’t have the kind of first season production Hass had found.
Where Cooks lacked in first year total yards, he made up for during his electric 2013 campaign, of which he recorded 100 yard receiving games 8 times, out of the Beavers’ 13 contests. Twice, Cooks surpassed the 200 yard mark, going off for 210 yards, and 3 TDs, against Utah, and 232 yards, and 2 TDs, against Cal.
His deep threat ability, coupled with his incredible knack for catching most anything thrown to him, apparent based on his 128 receptions in 2013, puts Cooks near to the top of the list when judging the 2014 wide receiver class entering the NFL.
If, for some reason, Marqise Lee sees himself go ahead of Cooks in April’s Draft, expect Cooks to continue to do what he did best in 2013, outshine Lee in every category en route to a successful rookie season.