1. Brandin Cooks (2011-2013)
Three-year receiver Brandin Cooks may have literally sped onto the map at the NFL Scouting Combine when he dominated three drills and won $100,000 for the fastest 40-yard dash, but the PAC-12 was on the Cooks bandwagon long before that weekend. In 2011, Cooks contributed as a part-time player before becoming a star player in the following two years. 2012 was especially enjoyable for Beavers fans as Cooks paired with Markus Wheaton to form possibly the most dangerous receiving duo in the nation. This pairing was so prolific that many analysts expected Cooks to regress after Wheaton was drafted, but the junior receiver took his game to the next level and racked up more than 1,700 yards and 16 touchdowns.
Brandin Cooks college production and impressive Combine performance drew the attention of many teams, but New Orleans won by selecting him 20th overall in the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft.
Signature Game #1 - 2013 Overtime Victory Against Utah
This PAC-12 game against the Utes was one of the most ridiculous affairs of recent memory. Both quarterbacks were on fire, and points were flying fast and furious. Utah quarterback Travis Wilson was seemingly unstoppable during the game, throwing for two touchdowns and rushing for three more. Sean Mannion was possibly more impressive, completing 27 of 45 passes for 443 yards and five touchdowns.
Tied at 45, the Beavs and Utes headed to overtime just in time for another big play from Brandin Cooks, who had embarrassed the Utes secondary all game. The Utes started OT with a field goal to make the score 48-45, but Sean Mannion threw the game winning touchdown pass to Cooks on second down, giving the Beavers their first conference victory of the 2013 season and some much-needed confidence.
Brandin Cooks finished the game with nine receptions for 210 yards and three touchdowns.
Signature Game Pro Edition - Week 8 Victory Over Green Bay in 2014
The Saints entered week 8 winners of only two games in 2014 while the Packers sat comfortably at 5-2. This was a must-win game for a group needing to keep pace with the Carolina Panthers in the NFC South. Enter rookie wide receiver Brandin Cooks.
The Oregon State star justified his first-round status and helped propel the Saints to victory with a dominating performance. Cooks started with a four-yard touchdown run on a Jet Sweep, and he followed that up by catching six passes for 94 yards and a 50-yard touchdown. The best catch of the day came when Cooks ran a post route against corner Tramon Williams. Drew Brees’ pass was too high, but Cooks jumped up and tipped the ball to himself in midair, landing violently on the turf and making the catch between three Packers defenders. Many rookies are spooked by the spotlight in big moments, but Cooks broke out one of the best plays of the season. That’s what big-time players do.