Tag: Kerry Cooks

Kerry Cooks

Reports: Kerry Cooks heading to Oklahoma


It appears that Brian Kelly will be filling a hole on his coaching staff after Signing Day. Multiple reports, from both Norman and South Bend, have Irish secondary coach Kerry Cooks leaving Notre Dame to join Bob Stoops’ staff at Oklahoma.

Reports point to Cooks making a parallel move, with Stoops looking to fill a hole at secondary coach. We have yet to hear if Cooks will get an added title bump, like co-defensive coordinator or assistant head coach. Cooks held a co-defensive coordinator title in South Bend for one season, before Brian VanGorder replaced Bob Diaco and took over the defense, relegating Cooks back to secondary coach. Some believe this move has been inevitable since Cooks was passed up for the coordinator job.

The move to Oklahoma makes sense for Cooks. A Texas native, he’ll be able to recruit the state incredibly well, with in-roads he’s made in Louisiana and across the Southeast also likely paying dividends for the Sooners. He’ll also be tasked with fixing a secondary that’s woefully underperformed, an achilles heel for an Oklahoma team that had lofty aspirations heading into 2014, but finished an astoundingly horrible 120th against the pass.

While the move isn’t likely to be finalized until after Signing Day, multiple reports had the Irish reaching out to recruits, with Kelly personally discussing the move with them. It appears the change won’t flip any recruits.

There is no timeline for finding Cooks replacement, though spring practice begins on March 2nd.



Cooks, Hiestand named as Rivals Top 25 recruiters

Kerry Cooks

With letters-of-intent in and recruiting classes finalized, the evaluation process for 2014 is over. But not the evaluation of the evaluators.

As different websites decide to rank and measure the signing day hauls from across the country, Rivals.com put together a list of the Top 25 recruiters in the country. And as you might expect, Notre Dame was well represented.

Both Kerry Cooks and Harry Hiestand made Rivals’ list, with the Irish’s cornerbacks coach and offensive line coach having banner years. For Cooks, it was his work in Texas that got him noticed, bringing in three key recruits that all happened to have offers from Charlie Strong and the Longhorns.

“I think Kerry Cooks did a great job incidentally in the state of Texas,” Kelly said on signing day. “We got three players from Texas, all of them offered by the University of Texas.  I don’t know if that happens very often.  But we’re very fortunate, and it’s a great area for us.”

Here’s what Rivals said about Cooks:

Cooks did plenty to help Notre Dame this cycle and grabbed some great talent in the process. His biggest accomplishment wasn’t landing a specific recruit, though. It was bigger than that. Cooks helped get Notre Dame involved with top-level talent in Texas. The Irish co-defensive coordinator signed three Lone Star State players with offers from Texas’ new coaching staff, something that program had only done two times over the course of the last 10 recruiting cycles. Four-star defensive back Nick Watkins, defensive end Grant Blankenship and linebacker Kolin Hill are talented prospects, but the fact that they are from Texas is more important to Notre Dame in the long term. The Irish sign highly ranked prospects every February, but Cooks did something unique by making waves in Texas. That feat is miles more impressive than bringing a handful of four-stars to South Bend.

As for Hiestand, Notre Dame’s offensive line coach has become a veritable star on the recruiting trail. The past two seasons, the Irish have landed a haul that can’t be match by any program, and this year’s group was another banner class.

That offensive linemen connect with Hiestand isn’t a big surprise. He’s coached at the highest level, with a successful run in the NFL with the Chicago Bears. And he’s the type of gruff, old-school line coach that will forever be popular with the big boys up front.

He’s quickly eliminated any worries from skeptics who hoped Kelly would bring in a younger, more energetic line coach. Hiestand showed plenty of tenacity on the road as he reeled in Quenton Nelson, Alex Bars, Jimmy Byrne and Sam Mustipher this season, following up on a five-man haul last year.

Here’s Rivals on Hiestand:

Hiestand helped sign four offensive linemen from four different states. All of them were four-star prospects or better and three of them played in top-level All-American games. Five-star tackle Quenton Nelson is the gem of the Irish’s 2014 class and the No. 29 prospect in America. Four-stars Alex Bars, Sam Mustipher and Jimmy Byrne are impact players as well. Hiestand accounted for top-end talent and depth, making Notre Dame’s offensive line class one of the country’s two best.

Cooks very nearly added a few other key recruits, almost pulling off signing day steals from Louisiana prospects Terrence Alexander and Courtney Garnett. Likewise, you begin to wonder if Hiestand could’ve extended the offensive line class with Braden Smith, who was still interested in the Irish late into the process.

Nice kudos for two coaches very deserving of the acknowledgement.

Weekend notes: Recruiting Ohio, Bracketology, Cooks, Daniels and more

Davaris Daniels

It’ll likely be months until anybody is certain what the fate of Ohio State football will be, but that hasn’t stopped people from talking about it. If you’re looking for some context, Michigan blog MGoBlog.com revels in the comparison to USC (their conclusion: “Yeah, you guys are screwed), a benchmark that’ll likely be referenced a few thousand times before the NCAA Committee on Infractions puts the Buckeyes athletic program in its crosshairs.

With that angle in mind, Brian Kelly was asked earlier this week about the Ohio State problems and whether they effect the Irish’s recruiting efforts in the state of Ohio.

“It doesn’t,” Kelly said point-blank on Tuesday.

“We still have to be focused on what we’re about and what we’re looking for. If there’s a hole in recruiting because Ohio State is not on a kid because of what’s going on, that really doesn’t affect us. We’re still going to recruit the kind of guys that we believe fit at Notre Dame. If there are things ancillary that will work in our favor, we don’t sit around thinking about those things.”

In the two recruiting classes Kelly’s already signed, he’s made it clear that recruiting Ohio is important by the sheer volume of players he’s taken. Notre Dame has signed nine players from the Buckeye state in the past two classes, and the state of Ohio trails only Illinois for active members on the roster.

Here are the Ohio recruits Kelly inked in the last two classes:

     Alex Welch, TE (Ohio State offer)
     Derek Roback, LB
     Luke Massa, QB
     Matt James, OL (Ohio State offer)
     Andrew Hendrix, QB (Ohio State offer)
     Chase Hounshell, OL/DL
     Eilar Hardy, DB
     Jarrett Grace, LB (Ohio State offer)
     Brad Carrico, OL

The Irish already have Ohio native Taylor Decker committed to the 2012 class and are chasing another ten or so players from Ohio, many with offers from the Buckeyes. With or without Jim Tressel, it’s pretty clear Brian Kelly thinks he’ll do just fine.

“It’s been a great state, it’s a state we need to continue to work hard in,” Kelly said. “It was good for me in Cincinnati, and it’s going to be good for us at Notre Dame.”


You want a playoff in college football? Well, here’s likely your best chance… for now.

As part of the run-up to EA Sports’ popular videogame franchise, “NCAA Football 12,” EA is holding a bracket challenge to decide what college football tradition is the country’s best.

The Irish’s “Play Like A Champion Today” is the No. 1 seed in the tournament, and facing off with West Virginia’s “Hold the Rope” tradition. (I honestly didn’t know this existed…) Over 42,000 votes have been cast, with the Irish holding a 70/30 advantage over the Mountaineers, but be sure to continue to stuff the ballot box, because a dog fight is coming next round, with either Uga the dog from Georgia or Tennessee’s Smokey moving on to the quarterfinals.

If you are so inclined, help Notre Dame defend their No. 1 seed.

(Yep, it’s the offseason…)


Irish cornerbacks coach Kerry Cooks is on his way back from Orlando, where he was one of seven college football coaches selected to participate in the NCAA Champion Forum.

Put on in conjunction with the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) convention, the Champions Forum focuses on a select group of minority coaches who have been identified as potential candidates to become college football head coaches.

Here’s more from UND.com on the focus on the initiative:

During the Forum, the coaches, athletics directors and speakers will have time to develop professional relationships in a more informal, private setting. There will be simulated interview sessions, media training, keynote speakers. There will also be opportunities to discuss key topics such as understanding and developing culture within their team and the athletics department and effectively engaging with the campus and academic staff after becoming a head football coach.

Through the Forum, the football coaches will have an opportunity to gain a better understanding of the search process and the steps taken by search firms and athletics directors when preparing to hire head football coaches to lead intercollegiate programs. In turn, the athletics directors and administrators will have opportunities to meet, interact and become better acquainted with the football coaches; become “champions” by assisting with the coaches’ continued career growth; and broaden their outlook on potential minority head coaching prospects within the NCAA.

Joining Cooks in Orlando were Michael Barrow, linebackers coach for Miami, Lawrence Dawsey, Florida State’s wide receivers coach, Gary Emmanuel, Purdue’s co-defensive coordinator, William Inge, Buffalo’s defensive coordinator, Brian Stewart, University of Houston’s defensive coordinator and Joel Thomas, Washington’s running backs coach.

This is Cooks’ second year on Brian Kelly’s staff and first year coaching cornerbacks.


Following up on the Matt Hegarty story, Davaris Daniels’ hometown newspaper, The Daily Herald, had an in-depth profile on the incoming freshman receiver after naming him the Lake County male athlete of the year.

Daniels starred on both the football and basketball team for Vernon Hills, something he’s done since his freshman year.

Clearly, Daniels leaves Vernon Hills as one of its best athletes in history. But he also goes down as one of Lake County’s most decorated and talented athletes, so it seems only fitting that Daniels has been named the Daily Herald’s male athlete of the year for Lake County.

“This all went by so quick,” said Daniels, who is eyeing a starting spot at wide receiver at Notre Dame, which opens football camp in eight days. “But it also seems like I’ve been in high school forever.”

Could be all those weeks, months and years of varsity pressures and expectations.

Not that Daniels ever seemed flustered by them.

He was on the radar of college recruiters almost from the moment he returned that kickoff for a touchdown. Yet, Daniels stayed grounded and kept his nose to the grindstone.

“DaVaris is a once-in-a-lifetime athlete to coach when you consider his abilities, work ethic and attitude,” Vernon Hills basketball coach Matt McCarty said. “His attitude has always been team first. Rarely do you see the complete package, but we have had it with DaVaris in both football and basketball.”

Daniels role in the offense could be rather large, depending on what happens with Michael Floyd and his uncertain return to the football team. Either way, if he’s even within two-tenths of a second of his reported 4.3 forty time, he can make an immediate impact as a returner or in the red zone, where his 6-foot-3 height and leaping ability should come in handy.

Another point of interest will be Daniels’ development as a wide receiver. He was used all over the field last season for Vernon Hills, which means he didn’t spend a ton of time concentrating on the nuances of the receiver position. Athletically, that’s a good thing for Daniels, but it also might make the transition a little harder.


Is it possible Notre Dame is continuing its way up the cool charts? Consider this article that came up in my Notre Dame news feed, from celebrity tabloid OK! Magazine:

“Selena Gomez & Taylor Swift Tried to Have a “Normal College Experience” at Notre Dame.”

Here’s the quote of record from Taylor Swift, whose younger brother is a Notre Dame student.

“So we fly to Notre Dame and decide we’re gonna fit in,” Taylor explains. “We went and we got all this Notre Dame gear so we’re like wearing the Notre Dame jacket and the Notre Dame visor and we learned that’s not how you fit in at college evidently.”

I expect every guy on campus to have two size-small “The Shirts” waiting for these girls when they try to come back for a game next year.


Lastly, for any fans of Friday Night Lights out there, we might have found a replacement for Tim Riggins.

Enter Cam McDaniel: