HONOLULU Oregon States Brandin Cooks possesses all the tools except maybe height that youd want in a wide receiver.
Speed. Quickness. Smarts. Strength. Sure hands. Work ethic. Drive.
Put all that together and you get what Boise State sophomore cornerback Donte Deayon sees on video.
Hes at a different speed than everybody else on the field, Deayon said.
The Broncos will try to catch Cooks on Tuesday at Aloha Stadium in the Hawaii Bowl (6 p.m. MT, ESPN).
It could be the junior stars final college game.
Hes been one of the hardest workers weve ever had and one of the best characters weve ever had and one of the best talents weve ever had, Oregon State coach Mike Riley said. The combination of all that has led to him winning the Biletnikoff Award and he deserves it all.
Cooks (5-foot-10, 186 pounds) won the Biletnikoff as the nations top wide receiver earlier this month. He has the gaudy numbers to back it up.
Playing in one of the nations top two conferences, Cooks has broken the Pac-12 record for receptions in a season (120), needs 52 yards against the Broncos to break the record for yards in a season (he has 1,670) and needs three touchdown catches to match the record for TDs in a season (he has 15).
He has caught at least nine passes in 10 of the Beavers 12 games. He has gained 100 yards eight times. And he scored multiple touchdowns in five of the first six games.
Hes really shifty, fast, elusive, Deayon said, and he can do things when he has the ball in his hands.
Cooks also has a compelling personal history.
The Oregonian published a story last week detailing Cooks family troubles. His father died of a heart attack when Cooks was 6 years old. His three older brothers have accumulated tales of hardship most notably Cooks closest brother, Andre, who is in prison.
The day after daddy died, Brandin Cooks told the newspaper, it felt like everything went downhill.
His brothers saw something different in him some of the same traits that Riley and the Beavers rave about today. Cooks attacked life with an energy and purpose that hinted of a bright future.
His brothers pushed him to fulfill his potential.
Now they see him as an inspiration.
Even though I was the youngest, I was the only one who made (my fathers death) a positive, Cooks told The Oregonian. I cant forget it, but I can let it fuel me I realized it young, and they realized it late. But they can still do it. I really believe I can be the one to change Andres life.
Cooks hasnt indicated whether he will leave Oregon State after Tuesdays game, but he has little left to accomplish.
He holds school records for single-season receptions, yards and receiving touchdowns all from this year and career receiving touchdowns (23).
His goal this season was to make 92 catches for 1,300 yards. He hit those marks in the first 10 games.
The second I learned what college football was, what the NFL was, I said, I want to do that, Cooks told The Oregonian. I came in here, and I wanted to break records, I wanted to be better than anyone else who had come here. I wanted to set myself up so that within three years, I would have the option to leave.
Even Riley seems content to let Cooks go.
He seized the opportunity to pitch Cooks on returning to school at Fridays Hawaii Bowl press conference but did it in a way so lighthearted that it seemed clear what the outcome will be.
Brandin will get so much better if he comes back to Oregon State. It would be unbelievable, Riley said with a laugh. Everybody should repeat that to him all the time.
Actually, Im going to stay out of that one. Were going to play this game. Im sure well talk. Brandin will do this correctly. Hell find out from the NFL where hes projected to be drafted. If it is best for him to head on, well wish him the best. If he comes back, its obviously a big boost for our team.
And for junior quarterback Sean Mannion, who ranks second in the nation in passing yards in large part because of his uncanny chemistry with Cooks.
Cooks leads the nation in receiving yards.
They basically throw the football around the clock all year, Riley said. They are passionate about what they do. The fact that Sean is the second-leading thrower in the country and Brandin leads in numerous categories is not an accident. They work hard, and they like it.
All of that work made Cooks Biletnikoff win meaningful to Mannion, too. The quarterback watched the awards show on TV.
You couldnt give it to a better guy, Mannion said. All the stats and on-the-field performance aside, what made me so happy because I know him so well, hes one of my closest friends on the team is I know how hard he worked to become a great player. Im sure its special for him, but its also special for me. Im so proud to be able to play with him.
Chadd Cripe: 377-6398, Twitter: @IDS_BroncoBeat