San Jose State roommates keep Spartans offense, and each other, moving

The slamming of doors and clomping of feet at the crack of dawn isn’t the ideal alarm clock for most people.

San Jose State wide receivers Justin Lockhart and Elijah Cooks don’t fall into this category. At least when it is their quarterback, Chevan Cordeiro, jarring them awake.

“Chevan is the workhorse. We hear Chevan do stuff in the morning from our beds and we know it’s like, ‘Ok it’s about that time to get up,’” said Cooks.

Lockhart added, “We tell Chevan to be as loud as possible.”

The trio plans to make plenty of noise together on the field for the Spartans this fall, too.

Three college teammates living together isn’t unique, but for this trio, there’s a twist: All three are first-year transfers; Cooks and Lockhart from the University of Nevada and Cordeiro from the University of Hawaii.

The in-person wake-up call is just one example of how the trio has come together since arriving in the South Bay over the winter. It didn’t take long for the trio to bond as roommates or teammates.

San Jose State University football players, from left, Justin Lockhart, Elijah Cooks and Chevan Cordeiro, front, pose for a portrait near campus in San Jose, Calif. (Photo Courtesy of San Jose State University) 

With two games in the books – a 21-17 win over Portland State and a 24-16 loss at Auburn – the roommates are proving to be the spine of the offense.

Sixteen of Cordeiro’s 39 completions and 245 of Cordeiro’s 514 passing yards have gone to his roomies. Cooks had a monster season debut against Portland State, catching six passes for 123 yards.

After the win, Cooks was singing his praises for his roommate.

“[Cordeiro] has the trust in me and I have the trust in him,” said Cooks. “I know going out there every time that I could be his first possible read so I have to run as fast as I can, get open, win right now because Chevan is looking for me.”

Against Auburn, Lockhart and Cooks each caught four passes for a combined 103 yards.

San Jose State wide receiver Justin Lockhart (11) catches a pass as Auburn cornerback Keionte Scott (6) defends during the second half of an NCAA college football game Saturday, Sept. 10, 2022, in Auburn, Ala. (AP Photo/Butch Dill) 

The three were not complete strangers to the Spartans when they arrived. Not only had the trio faced SJSU multiple times as opponents, but there were some familiar faces already in place.

“They all knew of each other, they all played against each other so it wasn’t like they were going in cold,” said SJSU head coach Brent Brennan.

Cooks and Lockhart arrived a year after former Wolf Pack wide receivers coach Eric Scott took the same role at SJSU.

“At Nevada I was close with Justin, we’d do a lot of things together, but now I’m with him 24/7. We are building a completely better bond and I feel like I’ve gained another brother,” said Cooks.

San Jose State University football players, from left, Chevan Cordeiro, Justin Lockhart and Elijah Cooks enjoy a meal at San Pedro Square in San Jose, Calif. (Photo Courtesy of San Jose State University) 

For Cordeiro, his situation is much more delicate, leaving his hometown Rainbow Warriors amid a controversial coaching change.

Although Cooks and Lockhart never roomed with their quarterback at Nevada, living with teammates is nothing new. It’s a new world for Cordeiro, who lived at home throughout his career in Hawaii.

The new living situation offers Cordeiro advantages he wouldn’t have had living with family, he says. Now that he’s one bedroom away from his teammates, small communication issues don’t metastasize into large conflicts.

“You have to be honest, that’s what gets each other better,” said Cordeiro. “If you’re going to lie and say like, ‘Oh that was your fault,’ or if you’re going to blame one another then you’re not going to get better.”

SAN JOSE, CALIFORNIA – SEPTEMBER 1: San Jose State Spartans quarterback Chevan Cordeiro (2) celebrates with teammates his touchdown against the Portland State Vikings in the first half of their season opener at San Jose State Spartan Stadium in San Jose, Calif., on Thursday, Sept. 1, 2022. (Ray Chavez/Bay Area News Group) 

Although the trio is on the same page on the field, some aspects of living together remain a work in progress. On this day, to-go bags from McDonald’s and Jersey Mike’s are scattered around the apartment, although it can – and has – been much worse.

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“You left salmon out for a month,” said Cooks teasing Cordeiro when asked about which roommate was most likely to cook a meal and then not clean it up.

Cordeiro quickly replied, “I did it that one time. Just so happened that one time was salmon.”

Cook noted, “You walk through that house you would instantly smell the salmon every time.”

When Cordeiro finally got to cleaning, the smell grew to be so vile and pungent, he needed gloves and a mask as if he was Walter White scrubbing off vats soaked in poisonous chemicals.

“I’ve been to their place a couple of times, I think they need to do a better job of cleaning it,” joked Brennan. “I wasn’t the cleanest guy at that stage of my life either.”

Cleanliness aside, Lockhart, Cooks and Cordeiro are each going through a crucial part of the college process together: transitioning from outsiders you live with to trusted friends.

San Jose State University football players, from left, Justin Lockhart, Elijah Cooks and Chevan Cordeiro, walk outside of campus to downtown San Jose, Calif. The three of them are roommates. (Photo Courtesy of San Jose State University)