Cooks Orders Up A Commit to UCLA

Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln receiver Brandin Cooks becomes UCLA's first pledge in the class of 2011, committing to the Bruins on Thursday evening...

Stockton (Calif.) Lincoln receiver Brandin Cooks (5-11, 185) decided Thursday was the right time to end his college recruitment, so the fast-rising receiver, who's had a phenomenal spring, did so.

"It was a gut feeling I had and I went over it with my family and I am just ready to put this thing to rest, so I committed to UCLA," said Cooks. "I called up Coach (Rick) Neuheisel and it was really exciting. We talked last week when he offered, and I had to sit down with my family, weigh it all out all the pluses and minuses, and so I called him today to tell him I wanted to be a Bruin. UCLA has always been my dream school."

Even though Cooks didn't get an offer from the Bruins earlier, he wasn't discouraged.

"They were a little slow in the process, but all throughout, they were staying in contact with me," said Cooks. "When I made it down for the spring game, that was real big, because it's always been my dream school and that was big for me."

When Cooks was offered last week, it was an athlete, but after talking with Neuheisel, he now knows where his future will be.

"Coach Neuheisel wants me to come in as a receiver, and he's going to give me a chance to play that position, which is a big relief," said Cooks. "I'm pretty confident in myself, that I can go in there and ball it up. This will be a big offseason for me, I'll be doing some huge training, but I'm willing to do it so I can prove I'm a receiver."

Staying in-state was a big draw for Cooks.

"That was real important, because my mom is my number one fan," said Cooks. "Washington was one of my big choices, but I wanted my family to come in and get to my games. Plus, Southern California is pretty amazing."

One of Cooks teammates', Phillip Ruhl, is walking on at UCLA this fall.

"My best friend is Phillip Ruhl and he's going to walk-on at UCLA and we always joked around that we would play together in college. After their camp, he's said he's coming here and I was like, I'll join you. So that was a big part. He's like my brother, so it will be cool to be there around him."

Cooks talked with a handful of Bruin coaches on Thursday when he called Neuheisel.

"When I called and committed, I talked to Coach (Clark) Lea because he's the one recruiting me and then I talked to Coach (Reggie) Moore and he passed the phone around. With Coach Moore, we're planning to keep more in touch and build this connection because he'll be my position coach."

With Cooks being the first commit, he said he's going to start recruiting for the Bruins.

"We need to get some quarterbacks, and get some other guys, so we can win this national championship," said Cooks. "I know Jerry Neuheisel, and I felt he's legit, and he's going to be at the camp next week I'll be at, so I'll get a chance to get a feel for him. I saw him in Vegas at the 7on7 and he's legit. I need to connect to these other players and get them to go there. I want people to know UCLA is coming."

By the time Cooks is entrenched in Westwood, the Pac-10 conference could be dramatically different, which he's thrilled with.

"It could be the Pac-10, but even if it's just the Pac-10, it's really exciting," said Cooks. "It was always my dream and I knew I could do it, I just had to be patient. Sometimes I got impatient, but after being patient more, more things have been coming in. I'm real excited about playing in the Pac-10. I'm the youngest of four boys, but the first to go to a university so it's a big deal."

Cooks was also glad to end the process before summer.

"I'm real relieved because this has been a long process but it's been fun," said Cooks.

He's looking forward to the camp next weekend to work with the coaching staff.

"I'm ready to know more about the scheme of play, and real excited to work with them," said Cooks. "UCLA has some real energetic coaches, and coaches who can keep up with the youngins."

Last month, Cooks was named the WR MVP at the Stanford NFTC.

Academically, he has a 3.7 GPA and took the SAT in the spring.

Last year, Cooks was named First Team All-League and First Team All-Area as a junior and Team Offensive Player of the Year. He had 46 receptions for 783 yards and 10 touchdowns and ran for 90 yards on 14 carries. Defensively, he had three interceptions for 110 yards. He also returned 10 kicks for 298 yards and had 12 touchdowns total and had 1,283 all-purpose yards.


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