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Alcorn State players perform drills in front of NFL scouts

Alcorn State University’s Jamil Cooks leaps over four dummies before landing and sprinting to complete one of several drills at Alcorn’s “pro day” Monday afternoon. (Jake Martin / The Natchez Democrat)

Alcorn State University’s Jamil Cooks leaps over four dummies before landing and sprinting to complete one of several drills at Alcorn’s “pro day” Monday afternoon. (Jake Martin / The Natchez Democrat)

LORMAN — The weight of Jamil Cooks’ future wasn’t going to crush him.

Placed with an opportunity ahead of him that could change his life forever, Cooks said he prayed and put his future in God’s hands.

“When you give everything to God, nothing can get to you,” Cooks said.

At Alcorn State’s “pro day” Monday afternoon, Cooks, along with several of his teammates, attempted to make the most of working out in front of NFL scouts on campus. In front of representatives from the Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, New York Giants and St. Louis Rams, Cooks impressed, repping 225 pounds 21 times, boasting a 39-inch vertical and showing off his light feet in several shuttle drills. With heavy implications on the line, the 6-foot-2, 230-pound linebacker found peace.

“I don’t care about numbers or anything like that,” said Cooks after wrapping up his first workout in front of NFL scouts. “I was thankful for the opportunity. The way I was able to train, God put me in a good position to be able to do that. And I came out her and performed for Him.”

Another player who caught eyes at the event was senior nickelback C.J. Morgan, who tried to take a similar approach that Cooks had. Morgan was going to participate in another combine later this month, so he viewed Alcorn’s combine as a way to gain experience.

“A few of the scouts told me to stay in shape and keep working,” Morgan said. “I think I did average at best. Now that I know what I’m getting myself into, I feel that I can go out there and perform even better.”

Watching his group of seniors act as instructed, Alcorn State head coach Jay Hopson stood back, offering words of encouragement to every passing player. He praised all, but said Cooks made an impact with his consistency in every event.

“He knocked the bottom out,” Hopson said.

Hopson, who is normally a drill sergeant on the practice field, enjoyed the role of spectator on a cool, sunny day.

“It’s just a great opportunity for these guys,” said Hopson, drinking his beverage and texting on his phone. “I just want all of the guys to get the exposure and get a chance to live their dream. We have some talented seniors that got to show what they could do today.”

Earning the scouts respect was one of several goals Cooks said he and his teammates set out to accomplish. Their intent was noticed by one scout, who said the senior group’s hard work was a great testament to the success the 9-3 Braves have had recently.

“The scouts will definitely be back,” Cooks said. “The fruits of our labor were left on this field. As long as Alcorn was represented good, it’s all good.”