Having followed him since he was a junior high school football player in Arizona, this outlet has spent six years connecting BYU fans to the life, progress and personal development of Terrance Hooks. Usually the emotions of seeing a Cougar leave the program comes by way of the season ending under much different circumstances.
After Hooks was injured on the New Mexico field and was lying devastated on the cart and about to be driven off the field, it was no surprise to see linebacker coach Paul Tidwell wipe tears from his face. Over the years, Coach Tidwell saw how hard Hooks worked and how much he sacrificed for him and his program. Sophomore receiver O'Neill Chambers summed up the experience rather well.
"Terrance has been like a brother to me and we're roommates," said Chambers. "It was just crazy to me to see him laying on the ground like that. It got me all fired up to see him like that. I told him that I'm going to finish up the year harder and stronger now just because of him. It's crazy because he's been here for a long time, and sometimes I feel like he didn't get the respect he should have. He always worked through the hard times and always looked towards the positive side, and to see what happened to him is just crazy."
Hooks may not have had the eye-popping career most would have hoped he had when he was being recruited, but no one can discount his heart despite his limitations. Much of the work ethic Hooks developed can be placed at the feet of his father Kerrick, who is a Baptist minister. Hooks views his father as one of his heroes and greatest influences.
"He's always been a hard worker and has always been there for me through thick and thin," said Hooks about his father. "No matter what I've gone through he's always been there for me to give me a helping hand or a helping word. He's always positive and always encouraging."
Aside from his father, who provided guidance, support and council, Hooks has another hero in his family.
"I would have to say my other big influence in my life was my older brother Tommy," Hooks said. "He's my half brother, and just growing up we didn't always live together in the same house because he was with his dad at times, but when he was around it was good to have an older brother. He always took care of me and always had my back no matter what. He's a great older brother and like my dad was always there for me when I needed him the most.
"You know, he was always constantly beating me up like older brothers do to their young brothers," said Hooks with a laugh. "He used to always push me to be tougher and things with football. I remember when we were younger, he used to go and get one of my mom's big towels. I remember I didn't really like it, but he would put the towel around my waist while holding it and make me run. He was trying to make me more powerful and faster by making me run. It was tough, but he liked to do that with me when I was a young kid."
As a young boy, Hooks used to go and watch Tommy suit up in pads and play Pop Warner football. Watching his Tommy play endeared his heart even more towards his older brother.
"He gave me his first Pop Warner jersey," said Hooks with a smile. "It's a jersey I still have in my closet to this day back in Arizona."
Usually Hooks isn't one at a loss for words, but when talking about how his big brother gave him his jersey years ago, the sentimental side got the best of him and he cut it short.
Although Hooks may not come from an LDS family or have any ties to BYU, he chose to come here over other schools recruiting him. Members of the Baptist faith, his family loved the school's values and standards, as well as the football program's emphasis on academics.
Ever since Hooks committed to BYU, his brother was on board. Tommy continued to support Hooks and had his back like he did when they were young boys.
"Oh yeah, he's a Cougar fan," Hooks said about Tommy. "He plays the … NCAA Football [video game] and he'll call me and say, ‘Oh man, dang bro!' He'll call me up and start teasing me. ‘Dang bro, you got ran over and they made you sorry in the game and you got ran over again!' I'd be like, ‘Yeah, whatever bro!' But he's always there and he'll call me up and talk to me after every game, definitely. He'll text me after every game and talk to me. He comes to as many games as he can to support me, like I used to go to his games when we were younger. He's always been a good brother and gave me what I didn't have and what he didn't have growing up also. He's been a great big brother."
There have been some hardships and tough circumstances he's been through while at BYU, but Hooks is happy to have been a part of the Cougar program.
"You know, in looking back I'm glad I came to BYU," said a somber Hooks. "I glad because of all the positive experiences I've had here, but if I had to do it all over again I would come here and do things differently while I was here. It's funny how everyone always tells you that you need to take advantage of this and that and if you don't it's going to go by quickly. I remember when someone once told me that it was going to go by quickly. That was the last thing I was listening to. I was like, ‘Yeah right, I'm going to be here forever.' Now looking back, it definitely has gone by quickly and there are some things that I wish I could go back and change.
"But I know now that I can't, so I have to pass what I know on down to some of the younger players on the team like O'Neill and J.J. [Di Luigi] and try and take some of my personal experiences and pass that on down to the younger guys on the team. That's the only thing I can do because it's a little too late to do anything for myself, but yeah, I can't complain about coming to BYU. The education has been great and my whole football experience here at BYU has been great. It's been a real blessing to come here."
"He's the one that opened up a lot of doors for many of us," said an emotional Chambers. "Us younger guys on the team look at him as being someone who was here first as an African American and not a member of the LDS Church. He really opened a lot of doors because of who he is and what he believed about BYU.
"It's just hard for him to sit there and go through all that over the last five years … and then the other knee does the same thing. But there has to be something else for him. He's just good of a person to not have him involved in another plan somewhere in the whole scheme of things."
Though he has undergone some tough times as a football player, Hooks doesn't regret coming to BYU.
"No, I wouldn't trade it for any world," Hooks said. "I wouldn't trade my experience here for anything. Like I said, if there is anything that I would trade it would be how I did things while I was here at BYU. I think I would have tried to grow up a little quicker while I was here and change that part [rather] than change my opportunity to come to BYU."