ARLINGTON, Texas (KETK) — Gary Patterson has always taken his defensive line play very seriously, and he feels pretty good about Lindale alum Terrell Cooper, as well preseason All-Big 12 selection Jeff Gladney at corner, as well as the contributions that Henderson’s La’Kendrick Van Zandt can make at the strong safety position.
Cooper wasn’t heavily recruited by the power-five schools, but after a red-shirt year, he came on strong last season, starting six games. and the Frogs now look to him to be a major contributor in 2019.
“Terrell has done an amazing job, just as far as getting his freshman year, he’s made a big improvement, a big jump, just being one of the top guys now,” said defensive tackle Ross Blacklock. “I couldn’t be more proud of him, you know, seeing him grow each and every day. “
In the secondary, New Boston alum, Gladney, who enters his senior season, has become one of the best cover corners in the Big 12.
He was ranked number-one in the league in both passer rating allowed and only allowing one catch every 16-and-a-half snaps, a year ago.
“I always have confidence when I see him to my right or my left,” said safety Innis Gaines. “So every time I’m out there with him, just gives an extra boost of confidence. He’s a great player.”
After battling through some injuries, former Henderson star, Van Zandt started to make some contributions last season.
He should be the back-up at strong safety this season, and Patterson says if he can stay healthy, he is one heck of an athlete.
“La’kendrick, he’s been working really hard in the off-season, learning the plays, trying to become a better player,” said Gaines. “I feel like he’ll have a bigger role this year as he learns and develops more as an athlete, as a player, and I feel like he’ll be destined to break out soon.”
The Horned Frogs open the season in Fort Worth against Arkansas Pine-Bluff on August 31st.