A Case for Cooks

Tomorrow (Thursday), Beaver Nation finds out whether junior wide receiver Brandin Cooks takes home the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the top receiver in college football. Cooks, a first team All-Pac-12 selection, is up against Texas A&M’s Mike Evans and Clemson’s Sammy Watkins for the award.

Based on stats alone, Cooks should receive the award. His 120 receptions (A Pac-12 record), 1,670 receiving yards, and 15 touchdowns all are the best marks among the three Biletnikoff Award finalists.

And considering what Cooks has meant to the Beavers this season, it would be a crime if he didn’t win the award. I shudder to think how the season would’ve turned out if Cooks wasn’t on the team or didn’t perform as well as he did.

Time and time again, Cooks made big catches, despite being double-teamed and even tripled-team, as well as taking some huge hits. All things considered, it’s amazing he hauled in as many catches as he did. There’s no doubt Cooks was everything his coaches, his teammates, and Beaver Nation expected — and more this season.

And Cooks’ performance this season has left no doubt in my mind that he’s the best WR in Oregon State history.

During my career as a sports writer, I covered Mike Hass, Sammie Stroughter, and James Rodgers. More recently, I watched from the stands as Markus Wheaton excelled for the Beavers as well. All four of those players, especially Hass, were tremendous receivers and playmakers.

Many people consider Hass the best WR in program history. And you can’t blame them. He won the Biletnikoff Award in 2005, had the best hands of the group, and rewrote OSU’s record book when it came to receiving numbers. Plus, he was a fun guy and a good interview.

But  after this season, I’ll go with Cooks. He willed this year’s team to wins, and his leadership and heart was unquestioned. His ability to shift directions on a dime helped move the chains more than once, often at crucial moments during games. He couldn’t be stopped 99 percent of the time, even though opposing teams/defenders knew that Mannion was going to throw to Cooks. He was the offense this season for the Beavers.

What do you think? Am I crazy to think Cooks is the best OSU receiver ever?

So I hope Cooks not only gets recognized for his efforts tomorrow, but that  if the Hawaii Bowl is indeed his last game as a Beaver, that he goes on out top with a win.

Does 12 catches, 125 yards, and two TDs in that game sound about right? (RW)

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