Margin Hooks name has come up recently with BYU when BYU commit Akile Davis talked about the influence Hooks had on his commitment to BYU.
Hooks is a friend to the CougarNation staff and spent some time with us on what his role was and how with his job he connects with a number of kids interested in BYU. Hooks manages Sky's The Limit a company that helps athletes with speed, agility and techniques. Based in Texas, Hooks has trained and worked with a number of D1 and future D1 athletes. Sometimes they include BYU fans, he shared about one kid who's dad played at BYU in the 90's and joked how this kid had more BYU gear than he ever had.
But not all the athletes were grown up to cheer for BYU. "Parents ask me where I went and then when I tell them BYU they kind of look at me, like really? And then they ask all the stereotypical questions and now I am so used to it I answer it before they even ask it," said Hooks
Hooks grew up in Waco, TX and was recruited by a number of schools. He had offers from Oklahoma, TCU and Texas Tech but ultimately chose BYU. He was recruited by fellow Texan Brian Mitchell who played at BYU as a DB and at the time was coaching the DB's. "LaVell said they wanted me, but they knew I had other trips schedule so he said go on the visits you have scheduled and let's talk when you get back," said Hooks. This was something that he respected. Coach Edwards didn't talk bad about the other programs or try to compare them; just let Hooks know that they wanted him.
When Hooks chose BYU, there was a bit of a shock from the other schools. "When I committed they asked what did BYU gave me, they didn't think an inner city kid would ever go there if he wasn't getting compensated somehow," said Hooks.
Having grown up in Texas as a non-LDS athlete and being African-American it's easy to see why high school athletes give so much attention to Hooks when he speaks about BYU. He's gone through it; he knows what it's like and experienced it.
So back to Davis and Hooks, what did Hooks say that helped Davis pledge his commitment to BYU? "He (Akile Davis) just called me randomly. I did not know him personally when he called me and then he asked me some questions about BYU. Honestly, he didn't even know what to ask. I just gave him my honest opinion about BYU. He's a lot like the mold that I came from, he's not from the church, and he's African-American, inner city kid from Texas. I know sometimes people say how they think BYU is, but they don't know; so I told him about the pros and cons. It's a great school! You graduate from there you're going to have doors open for you and your going to be able to play big time football…It's a great school for football and academics and environment wise. There is no other place where it's quiet like a mouse and then 30 minutes before the game you have 65 thousand fans fill a stadium yelling and then after the game is over it gets quiet again," said Hooks.
With Hooks he tells the players his honest opinion, he does not sugar coat it, and he'll tell them the pros as well as the cons according to him.
"The positives of BYU are it's a great educational environment, there's a lot of things you don't have to worry about, and it's a great football program, great history, you're gonna play great ball and get trained very well. There is a lot doors that will open for you."
"The cons are you are going to be different. You are going to stick out like a sore thumb. Everywhere I went eyes were on me. I had to find out a way to get my privacy. If you get in trouble it's going to be on ESPN, the media loves negativity."
Hooks also talked about how it's different being a non-LDS athlete there. When LDS athletes get in trouble, need help or have issues they have an immediate support group of a Bishop, the Priesthood and the Church.
"I have talked to Ross Apo and all other kids about BYU, I tell them if they any questions or issues to just call me. To call me! If they call me I will be there for them," said Hooks.
Last year BYU was heavily recruiting RB Cedric Dale from Texas. He visited the BYU campus and eventually committed to play for BYU; a recruit that also looked to Hooks in getting advice on BYU. "There was a situation last year with a recruit Cedric Dale. There was a friend of their family that called me and wanted me to talk to the kid because I had gone to BYU. I didn't want to step on any toes so I reached out to Coach Atuaia and Coach Holliday and if it is okay I talk to them, and they said don't worry about it. And then later Coach Atuaia and asked if I talked to Cedric Dale and I said no, he said well he just pulled his commitment and is going to Purdue…I called the dad that morning and talked to the dad and told me, Margin if I would have had this conversation yesterday with you, he'd still be committed to BYU."
Two other prospects that are in connection with Hooks who are hearing from BYU are RB Le'Vonte Owens and 2016 WR Camron Williams. Williams has great size at 6-foot-3 and is in the Rivals 250 for 2016. Hooks has been helping train and coach, Williams since he was 12 years old. And when asked about Owens, Hooks had great things to say.
"Le'Vonte Owens, right now he is steering clear of the recruiting process. But man he is a super athlete, great kid, great grades, speed, power he's the total package. BYU has to have it's a game on that one, he has a few other offers."
Lastly we asked the BYU alum about living in Texas after BYU beat up Texas last year in Provo. "I loved it! I loved it, because I friends that played at Texas. We went down to Austin the last time BYU played here and where we lost by 1 and so last year before the game was even over I had friends calling me that they didn't want to hear it and to not say anything. I didn't have to make calls (laughs)."
"This year I plan on going to the game. I have never done the tailgating thing but I have had a lot members of the church reach out to me and invite me to tailgate and events. And my wife has never seen the BYU side and so when we have members of the church come and talk to me she jokes how she says they act like they know me and I have to tell her it's a close nit group."
If you are a friend are interested in attending one of Margin Hooks' training camps that includes him and other former NFL players, go to www.starsundersconstruction.com