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Oklahoma Sooners Football - RJ’s Thoughts: Kerry Cooks is cooking on the recruiting trail

Oklahoma defensive backs coach Kerry Cooks is on a roll.

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NCAA Football: Texas Tech at Oklahoma Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports

Oklahoma Sooners assistant Kerry Cooks’ showed 2019 recruit Woodi Washington that he cares about him. And that’s why he committed.

Washington, a Rivals100 cornerback, told me he decided to commit in July so that he can better focus on finishing his high school football career strongly.

“Just getting it out of the way so I can focus on my senior season,” he said.

The decision was made easier for him as months went by from the moment he received his offer from OU back in March.

“Oklahoma has been my school for about two months, and I was just visiting other schools to see if I liked them” Washington said. “I just liked Oklahoma the best, so I decided to get it out of the way.”

Cooks closed on Washington late—really late. Washington told me he took five visits to Tennessee in the last year. As the No. 1 recruit in the Volunteer state, he was a high-value priority for the Volunteers and took visits to the Ohio State and Alabama.

He was underwhelmed by his visits to Knoxville, Tennessee and Columbus, Ohio. He was pointed about his experience in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.

“At Alabama, they coach you hard,” he said. “But it’s more like you don’t really have fun playing for Alabama. It’s more like a business to everything. It’s kind of like the NFL already. You don’t really have fun doing what you love.”

He still picked OU because he felt Cooks and the staff in Norman cared most about his well-being. And Cooks best demonstrated that with consistent contact.

“It was just my relationship with Coach Cooks,” he said. “It’s how he talks to me. He was just one the only coach who texted me every week, called me every week, or asked me if I could call him.”

Expect Cooks to keep making splashes in this cycle. He has Oklahoma in a great position to land the nation’s No. 1 safety in Dax Hill, and he might just be on the cusp of earning a verbal commitment from the man mentioned below.

DAVIS LEARNING NICKEL

At The Opening Finals, 2019 cornerback Jaden Davis worked mostly at the nickel position.

His goal was to try to learn as much as he could about playing the fifth defensive back spot against the best in the country to better prepare him for what lies ahead for him at the FBS level.

“At my size in college, that’s the position I might have to play,” he said. “At schools like Oklahoma and Kentucky, they told me I could play nickel and outside. But schools like Clemson want me to predominantly play the nickel position.”

He learned to play to his leverage and to his help. That playing nickel is having the ability to play linebacker, corner and safety all at once. He understood he cannot depend on the sideline as another defender for him when playing nickel.

He was in the middle of the field against big tight ends and speedy slot receivers. Every snap is different.

“Before pre-snap, I’ll be inside-leverage,” Davis said, “and then at snap of the ball I’ll switch to outside leverage. I learned, at the nickel position, you have to play to your help because it’s difficult to just guard somebody in the middle of the field. I learned in 2-man you have to play inside leverage because you have safety help over the top.”

2019 cornerback recruit Jaden Davis will make his commitment announcement on July 18. In a conversation with me, he revealed the schools he’s still considering are Oklahoma, Penn State, Kentucky, Clemson and Miami. Oklahoma is currently considered the heavy favorite.

2020 SAFETY OFFER RELATED TO WAYMAN TISDALE

In a recent conversation, the No. 1 2020 prospect in the state of Kentucky and four-star defensive back Vito Tisdale revealed he’s related to late OU hoops legend Wayman Tisdale on his father’s side. Tisdale is also the son of Nappy Roots rap group founder Big V, which pretty cool. He’ll visit OU for the ChampU BBQ at the end of the month, which will be his first trip to Norman.