Lake Dallas High School football coach Jason Young remembers the exact moment he knew Kobee Minor was special.
It came against cross-lake rival Little Elm High School during Minor’s sophomore year. Minor, a cornerback in his first season as a starter, had his man covered. One of his teammates did not. It didn’t matter.
“There was a wide receiver running right down the middle wide open,” Young said. “All of a sudden, he came out of nowhere and just snagged the ball. It was an unbelievable play. That was the moment - ‘Oh, wow.’ That wasn't coaching right there. That was truly impressive.”
Minor’s natural football acumen is only made more impressive considering it wasn’t even his first love. He grew up a basketball player and didn’t seriously consider a future in football until high school, when he realized the heights of his potential by making plays like that one.
By Minor’s senior year, Young said there was never a doubt he was the best player on the field. Minor, rated as a 3-star recruit, chose Texas Tech University over several other Division I schools.
After three years in Lubbock, Minor decided to transfer, citing he didn’t receive a good shot at showing his abilities.
“I was just looking for an opportunity to play and somebody that was going to let me be me and go out here and play to my best ability,” Minor said.
Indiana’s coaching staff began looking into Minor. Cornerbacks coach Brandon Shelby, doing his due diligence, called a friend of his on Texas Tech’s staff. The response put things into motion.
“He said, ‘Hey man, he's a steal. He's a great young man,’” Shelby said.
Minor’s phone began ringing. He received two calls from familiar faces – Indiana freshman quarterback Brendan Sorsby, who went to high school with him, and defensive line coach Paul Randolph, who was at Texas Tech with Minor before joining the Hoosiers in 2022.
Sorsby’s call came first.
“He was really the main reason,” Minor said. “When I hit the transfer portal, he called me and was like, ‘Hey, Indiana, Indiana, Indiana,’ and I did some research on Indiana. The same day, I got a call from coach Randolph, letting me know, ‘We got an opportunity for you to play right away,’ and I took it.”
Shortly thereafter, Minor visited Bloomington. While at Texas Tech, the assistant coaches who recruited him were fired, and he was succinctly recruited over with the transfer portal’s emergence, remaining lower on the depth chart than he would’ve preferred.
Trust was a big factor in Minor’s decision, and he found comfort in Shelby’s inviting personality. Shelby said he had no doubt Minor was right for the Hoosiers from the moment they met on the visit, and his conviction has held strong.
“You can tell when somebody just fits who you are,” Shelby said. “He grew up, his parents had the same values that I have for my children: work hard, go to school, do what you’re supposed to do.”
Minor committed to Indiana days later. The Hoosiers may not have known it then, but they’d landed a shutdown corner.
In his Indiana debut Sept. 2 against Ohio State, Minor allowed four receptions on five targets. In the seven games that followed, he was targeted just 19 times and given up only eight catches, spearheaded by a three-game stretch in which he allowed two total receptions.
The Hoosiers’ defense has had its share of ups and downs, but Minor’s strong play has persisted. Perhaps most impressive, he’s been battling a toe injury for much of the season, all the while shutting down opposing receivers.
“I don't think you've even seen him at 100%,” Shelby said. “And when he gets there, I think he’ll be really, really big time. There’s just something about him. He's steady, he's dependable, he's going to do what he's going to do, he's trustworthy. And I'm glad we got him.”
When Indiana defensive coordinator Matt Guerrieri saw Minor for the first time in the spring, the talent was evident to him. It took months for Minor to grow acclimated with his teammates and learn the playbook, but Guerrieri feels he’s accomplished that feat, as does sixth-year senior linebacker and team captain Aaron Casey.
Confidence and comfortability are the biggest areas of growth Indiana’s seen from Minor, with Guerrieri, Casey and Shelby all mentioning similar things. On the field, Shelby said he wants to continue seeing Minor improve his technique and eye discipline.
But on a broader scale, Minor’s leadership is Shelby’s top priority.
“We expect him to now start being a vocal leader and not just take care of his job but make sure you bring somebody else along,” Shelby said. “Knowing the playbook, knowing checks inside and out, where now you're owning a side of the field. That's where I want to see him mature too.”
Minor describes himself as chill and funny. He feels he’s already made strides as a leader because of the respect his teammates hold for him. Shelby added laid back and an old soul.
Indiana freshman defensive back Jordan Shaw is a direct example of this. Minor pushes Shaw and has raised his confidence. The duo often does extra work, and Shaw routinely picks Minor’s brain.
“You could tell from practice, the energy he brings, he’s on a different type of time,” Shaw said. “He’s a dog. I feel like his practice resonates to the field. It’s night and day.”
Mentality is crucial for cornerbacks, where confidence and the ability to stand 10 toes down on an island ultimately wins.
“Kobee’s got a little different attitude about him,” Young said. “I talk to his dad all the time. His dad likes to say he’s got that dog in him. He's got a little different attitude when he's on that field. He's an aggressive kid, and when he's locked in, he's locked in. There ain't nothing that’s going to unlock that.”
For years, when Minor opened his phone, he’d see the NFL Draft stage. Now, his lock screen is a picture of himself, but the stage remains in sight every time he opens X, formerly known as Twitter.
“I put it as my Twitter header, so every time I get on Twitter, and I look at my profile, it just motivates me,” Minor said. “Like, ‘I'm going to get there one day.’”
Minor hasn’t been shy of his professional ambitions. His performance level this year inspires hope he can reach that goal – and fifth-year senior defensive back Nic Toomer thinks the best is still to come.
“I personally don't even think Kobee’s grazed the surface of how good he could be,” Toomer said. “Great footwork, great physicality, a lot of energy on the field. I think he's just starting to get into his own on the field, and I think everyone can see how special he's playing right now.”
Shaw added Minor’s ceiling is extremely high, and he’s trending in the right direction to deliver on making his dreams a reality.
“I feel like he's definitely going to be in the draft when it's all said and done if he continues to do what he do,” Shaw said.
Shelby, who’s been at IU for 13 years, has coached several NFL corners. He knows what it takes to get to the highest level and believes Minor has what it takes — but with a big if.
“Yeah, he has potential, based on if he continues to grow and work and go back to the lab and refine his craft,” Shelby said. “You want to be a DB, you got to be the best in the world of what you do. And that's how you sleep, how you eat, how you train. People see what you do on Saturday, but Monday through Friday, that’s what gets you paid.”
Young saw Minor work his way from unknown sophomore to Division I recruit. He’s now watching Minor go from underutilized at Texas Tech to standout corner at Indiana – and he thinks there’s a high likelihood Minor’s playing career extends beyond the collegiate level.
“Knowing the kid and how hard he works, and his maturity level, I think the sky's the limit for him,” Young said. “It's all going to be up to him.”
Minor’s chasing a dream, but he’s doing it for more than himself. He calls his mom every day, telling her she’s his life, and he works as hard as he does to better their family’s life.
His upside is unquantifiable. His impact on Indiana’s defense is evident. Most of all, his professional ambitions are rising, and he doesn’t intend on watching the opportunity slip away.
“Man, I want it so bad, I ain’t even going to lie,” Minor said. “I don't think I'm going to let anything stop me or get in my way.”