The Hurry Up: Mookie Cooper Explains Why He Chose the Buckeyes, Katin Houser Rising to the Top of 2022 Quarterbacks

By Taylor Lehman on July 8, 2019 at 6:30 pm
Mookie Cooper
Mookie Cooper

The Hurry Up is your nightly dose of updates from the Ohio State football recruiting trail, keeping tabs on the latest from commits and targets from around the country.

Mookie Cooper Is Another Playmaker in Ohio State's 2020 Class

As Mookie Cooper said on his Instagram Live and then told the media during The Opening Finals last week, he moved his commitment date up to this week and essentially committed as early as possible.

He wanted to create his commitment video and even told Eleven Warriors and other media about his idea to fall into the water and have the logo appear underneath the ripples. He just didn’t reveal who the team would be, even though nearly everyone knew it would be Ohio State.

But he made it official today around noon.

“I felt like it’s the best place to become a great player around a bunch of great people,” Cooper told Eleven Warriors. “You’re going against the best every day and getting better. Also loved the Real Life Wednesday program. Not too many schools have something like this if they do at all. It’s not too far from home, and I’m playing big-time football.”

Mookie Cooper is a big-play receiver. He averaged nearly 30 yards per catch as a junior in 2018, but it’s important not to pigeonhole him into that type of role. He will be extremely effective on a play-by-play basis too. 

He stands at 5-foot-8, 193 pounds, and will work from the slot position. With playmakers like Garrett Wilson, Julian Fleming and Gee Scott Jr. that can make big plays downfield, most of Cooper’s big plays will need to come from big yards-after-catch plays and jet sweeps. That will greatly reduce his 29.8 yards per catch average he has at Trinity Catholic in St. Louis.

But Cooper will help stretch out the Ohio State offense and fills in the middle of the field so that players like Scott and Fleming and Wilson can do what they’re best at closer to the sidelines. 

The way that Cooper can be used though shouldn’t signify a change in the way Ohio State is pursuing some all-purpose backs, though. Jaylan Knighton, who is more of a running back anyway, is still a take in Columbus, as well as EJ Smith and others. Most of Cooper’s damage will be done in the passing game outside of an H-back role. 

The Ohio State wide receiver commits really wanted Cooper to come to Ohio State, and Hartline likes him because of his skillset that separates him from the other three wideouts that are already committed. All four receivers can have their own roles within the room, which is all a staff can do at this point to avoid transfers. There will be more about that on the site in coming days.

Paris Johnson, Julian Fleming Noted in USA TODAY

USA TODAY released its annual Chosen 25 for the Class of 2020 on Monday, and it included two Ohio State commitments – Paris Johnson Jr. and Julian Fleming.

Praise for Fleming and Johnson aren’t necessarily new or surprising to the Ohio State fan base. It’s also not surprising that Bryan Bresee was named the No. 1 recruit within those 25 prospects. 

Bresee ran through and around offensive linemen at The Opening Finals this week and will certainly be an immediate contributor at Clemson. But if Johnson would have participated, there would have been videos of the two in one-on-ones for some NFL-type competition. 

Johnson and Fleming will also likely be immediate contributors at Ohio State. 

Elias Ricks and Kendall Milton were also listed. Milton’s destination is unknown at the time, though some believe he is leaning Georgia. Ricks is committed to LSU, but Ohio State commits like where the Buckeyes stand with him at this point. His recruitment will go deep into the cycle.

Katin Houser Impressed by Ohio State

While Kevin Wilson was in Nevada visiting No. 1 2021 tight end Moliki Matavao, a quarterback caught his eye at Liberty High School. Katin Houser was putting up good balls to Matavao and the other receivers, so Wilson had a short conversation with him that ended in an invitation to come out to Ohio State for a one-day camp. 

Houser hit Ohio State first on a summer trip that included Washington, Arizona State, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and UC-Davis when he participated in the first Buckeye one-day camp June 6.

“I loved Ohio State,” Houser told Eleven Warriors. “I’ve been to Washington and ASU, and Ohio State is probably the best one that I’ve seen so far. I loved the campus. I took a tour. The facilities are amazing, and as far as the camp went I thought I did really well. I really liked the feedback and appreciate their feedback.”

Houser is one of the top quarterbacks in the 2022 class. He trains with Danny Hernandez twice per month. Hernandez works with some of the top quarterback talent in the country, such as 2020 No.1 and No. 2 quarterbacks D.J. Uiagalelei and Bryce Young. He also played against Ohio State commit Jack Miller in 7-on-7 tournaments.

The fact that Houser is one of the top quarterbacks in his class is a bit unprecedented too, after the sophomore has grown around six or seven inches during his current growth spurt, which has him around 6-foot-1 or 6-foot-2. 

“I believe that I’m very advanced, like on the field and making decisions,” Houser said. “I feel like my work ethic and my arm strength are very high for my age. That’s not being cocky, it’s being confident. I can throw with seniors, I can throw with juniors. I can through with anybody. That’s how confident I am.”

Ryan Day, Mike Yurcich and Kevin Wilson decided not to extend an offer to Houser after his impressive camp because they would like to see him develop more and watch him once he’s finished growing. Other schools are taking the same approach. Hawaii is the only school to offer him at this point.

But his opinion of Ohio State is high. He saw Justin Fields and the Ohio State quarterbacks during his tour, though he wasn’t able to speak with them. Then, he said he saw Urban Meyer around the facilities and described it as “breathtaking.”

But just the experience the coaching staff has with quarterbacks, between Day and his NFL experience, Yurcich as the quarterbacks coach and Wilson having been one of the better offensive coordinators in the last decade, impressed Houser the most.

“I’ve never been to a camp where they had that much knowledge about quarterbacks and had that much access to quarterbacks,” Houser said. “I think it would be a good fit for me because of their knowledge and the school and the campus and stuff like that.”

Ohio State has offered three 2022 quarterbacks at this point – Quinn Ewers, Steve Angeli (after the second one-day camp) and Maalik Murphy (who also works with Danny Hernandez). Chase Harrison is also in the same position as Houser, waiting on the Buckeyes to extend an offer.

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