MSU Commitment DE Brandon Cooper Solid

Marshall (TX) High School defensive end Brandon Cooper, an MSU football commitment, ready to be a Bulldog.

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Like his teammate, MSU commitment Chris Herrera, Brandon received an in-home visit from the MSU coach recruiting him, Assistant Coach Brick Haley, and Head Coach Sylvester Croom.

"Coach Croom and Coach Haley came in last Monday," said the 6-2, 240-pounder. "They stayed for a good 2 to 2 and a half hours. My mom sat down and talked to both of them. My uncle was also there. Coach Haley and my uncle found out that they were at Arkansas at the same time."

And his mom and uncle came away impressed with the two men.

"Both my mom and my uncle told me that I should go to Mississippi State, so that I will be around a good environment," said Brandon, a first-team 20-5A All-District selection. "They saw what kind of people I will be around and that they will not have anything to worry about. They said if it was up to them, they wouldn't change my decision. They want me to keep my decision to go to Mississippi State."

As for considering other schools, he's no longer doing that, although he had the chance.

"I'm not considering any other visits," said Brandon, who, despite his early commitment to MSU, has received offers from Iowa State, Houston, Central Florida and Toledo. "If I was, I would visit Iowa State, but I didn't. I don't even plan on visiting anyone else. I don't really care about the visits because I know where I'm going."

He's so dead set on MSU that he doesn't even keep up with what schools have offered him scholarships. In fact, when I told him the list of offers that an assistant coach at Marshall High School told me that he had, Brandon responded by saying, "I didn't even know that. I knew about Iowa State because they offered after Mississippi State. (Marshall High School Assistant) Coach O'Quinn will tell me about my offers when I come to the fieldhouse, but I don't keep them on my mind at all. I've already made up my mind."

One of the reasons he's so set on MSU is due to the great relationship that he has developed with Brick Haley.

"I call Coach Haley just about every night and we talk, so I don't have my mind on any other university," said Brandon. "I call him just to check in and let him know that I'm alright. I'll get excited about being (at Mississippi State), so I want to call him and tell him that I look forward to being there. I don't really have a father figure, although my uncle has been my father figure, but he works sometimes. So, I call Coach Haley just to talk to him."

While the MSU coaching staff were obviously very impressed with what they saw from Brandon, impressed enough to offer a scholarship extremely early in the recruiting process, Brandon thinks he can become a much better player.

"As far as I'm concerned, I'm just getting started," he said. "I'm nowhere near where I want to be. After watching myself on film, I know that I can be way better than I am now. I can improve in a lot of areas. I can improve my quickness and my strength, especially my strength. I can improve my explosion off the ball. I'm gradually seeing changes."

What were the changes he saw this past season?

"This year, I played more technique football instead of playing pure strength football," said Brandon. "I used what I learned in practice in games. I wasn't doing that when I was on the JV level. This year, I was trying to play smarter. I was trying to go off what the (offensive) tackle was showing me."

And with Coach Haley, who, in my humble opinion, is one of the best D-Line coaches in the business, coaching him next year, he will continue to get better and better, maybe to the point that he is an All-American just like another one of Haley's players, MSU senior DE Willie Evans.

Gene Swindoll is the publisher of the Dawgs' Bite, Powered by website, the source for Mississippi State sports on sports network. You can contact him by emailing

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