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Kody Cooke: A Conversation
Enid prospect ready to bring his talents to OU

Oklahoma recently received its eighth verbal commitment for the class of 2007, when Kody Cooke, a 6-foot-4, 285-pound offensive tackle from Enid High School announced during an unofficial visit to the OU-UAB game that he has decided to become a Sooner. Cooke is teammates with another OU commitment, linebacker prospect Austin Box.

Following his decision, Sooner Spectator recruiting editor Carey Murdock caught up with Cooke to talk about the recruiting process, his talented Enid teammate, his relationship with OU offensive line coach James Patton and much more.

Sooner Spectator: You were originally committed to Texas Tech before deciding on Oklahoma. How far does the Texas Tech connection go back and when did the Sooners enter into the picture?
Kody Cooke: I committed to Texas Tech at the end of June and I think the end of July was when OU offered. That’s when I kind of started looking into them more. I was still heavily committed to Texas Tech. I went down to the game the other day and had a chance to talk to Coach (Bob) Stoops and Coach Patton a lot and it was just a place I could see myself playing more. They have a need for linemen and just growing up in Oklahoma, I’ve grown up watching OU, and it’s somewhere I’ve always wanted to play.
I really didn’t think I’d have a chance just because there were only three spots in the summer and then when everything happened, I just looked more into it and talked to Coach Stoops and it all seemed right. J.D. Quinn left and then (Chad Roark) left and after that I knew there was going to be more spots. That’s when Coach Patton and Coach Stoops got a hold of my head coach and asked if I’d be interested and of course I said yes. It was never anything against Texas Tech, I just felt more comfortable at OU.

SS: Did you stay in contact with Coach Patton the entire time you were committed to Tech?
Cooke: I’ve always kind of noticed he had a pretty good liking for me and he’s always kind of helped me out, no matter what. He talked to me at least once a week. I really like him. He’s a great coach. I just like how aggressive he is when he coaches and he’s just the kind of person I like to be around.

SS: You were being recruited by former Sooner Seth Littrell, who is now at Tech, right?
Cooke: Exactly.

SS: So I assume you’ve already made the call to Tech to tell them of your commitment switch? How tough was that?
Cooke: Yeah, I did. I made the call on Sunday. Going into it, it was real tough. They treated me real well. But the conversation didn’t end up turning out as well as I thought it would. I knew it wasn’t going to turn out well, but it was just kind of — it wasn’t great.

SS: Did playing with Austin Box factor into your decision at all?
Cooke: It wasn’t my deciding factor, but that was just one of the things that came along with it. It’s a great thing to get to play with him again and I played with him in flag football since I was 6 years old. I’ve grown up with him and everything. It’s going to be great and something people will talk about. It wasn’t the deciding factor, but it was a big part of it.

SS: What was he saying when you were committed to Texas Tech and then the OU offer came? Did he want you to take the OU offer?
Cooke: He pretty much let me do my own thing. I think that was the right thing to do. He wasn’t trying to push me to go to OU. He told me that it would be great if I did and it would be great to play together again, but he told me he thought I had to do what was right for me. I thought that was a pretty good thing to say to me. It was a pretty good deal.

SS: What does your family think of it all?
Cooke: My family is real happy. My Dad and Mom never really tried to sway me. They told me I was entering my adult life and that it was something that I needed to do on my own. My sister (Kourtney) goes to OU so it’s a good deal.

SS: Are your parents OU fans?
Cooke: They have been all my life. I’ve grown up watching OU games and I can’t even count how many OU games I’ve been to.

SS: What’s your first memory from an OU football game?
Cooke: They were playing California a long time ago when De’Mond Parker was playing tailback.

SS: Have you had a favorite OU player over the years?
Cooke: Jammal Brown, probably. I’ve watched him for a while. And Wes Sims, of course. Coach (Tom) Cobble was his head coach in high school. So probably Wes Sims and Jammal Brown.

SS: You’ve played offensive tackle all through high school. Do you think you’ll stay at that position at OU?
Cooke: Coach Stoops told me that I’ll probably be a right tackle, but I’ll probably be a guy that can move inside, too. I really don’t know right now. I have no preference. I just really want to help the team out wherever I can, of course.

SS: I know a lot of times people will take a harder look at you now that you’re an Oklahoma commitment. Is there a part of you that wants to go out now and prove to the rest of the country that you’re an elite prospect?
Cooke: No matter what, I’m stuck on Oklahoma. That’s who I want to play with. But I want to go out and prove to other people that I was a guy who was a little bit underrated, just someone who can go out there and play the game to the best of my ability.

SS: Everybody looks at Tulsa Union’s Matt Romine as the premier offensive tackle in the state right now. I guess any player wants to be known as that type of player, don’t they?
Cooke: Definitely. I’ve seen him play and I remember playing him in the sixth grade, to tell you the truth. I just remember him because of his height. I’ve kept track of him over the years and everything. I’m not real close with him or anything, but I know who he is.

SS: Romine is a guy who’s admittedly grown up in an OU household, and as an OU fan. Is there a rivalry there or will you try and recruit him to come with you to OU now?
Cooke: I’d love for him to come and join me. He’s a great player and I’d love to have him in Norman.

SS: You have a unique perspective, having been through summer camps at Oklahoma with Coach Patton. Tell me what it is that stands out most about him as a coach and why you might enjoy playing for someone like him?
Cooke: What stood out to me in the beginning was how loud he is. He’s a real loud and aggressive coach and I just think he’s going to make you understand how to do things. That’s what I want to be around, someone who’s going to push me hard and push me to be a great player. I just think he’s probably the best offensive line coach I’ve seen. I have a pretty good friendship with him and he’s a great guy.

SS: Evaluate yourself for us. What are your strengths and weaknesses right now as an offensive tackle?
Cooke: My main strength is probably my long arms. That helps me a lot with pass blocking and stuff. Weakness — probably getting off the ball. I really learned to finish lately and I’m starting to get more pancakes lately and more knockdowns because I’m learning how to finish. I’m taking a step up from where I was last year, so I think I’m going to be a heck of a better player than I was last year.

SS: So as far as the rest of your recruiting year, will you and Austin try and schedule your official visits sometime in the near future?
Cooke: We really haven’t talked about it lately. Coach Patton asked me when I want to take my official visit and maybe it will be after our high school season. I don’t know really.

SS: Until then, you’ll probably take advantage of those game passes on the weekends now?
Cooke: Oh yeah, I’ll be there as much as I can.

Note: Read this and other stories weekly in Sooner Spectator Magazine....!