West Memphis' Jarvis Cooper showed at last week's Arkansas football camp why he is touted as one of the top junior football prospects in the state.
Cooper (6-2, 236, 4.6) had 64 tackles last season while playing noseguard for the Blue Devils last season, but is making a transition to linebacker – where he worked at during the Razorback camp and played in junior high.
"I learned a lot and I am getting use to playing linebacker," Cooper said. "I am not there yet, but I am getting the feel of it. It's also different up here at Arkansas. The reads are different from how we play it in high school."
He also plays some fullback for West Memphis, but made it clear which side of the ball he prefers.
"I like running it, but I like hitting people, too," Cooper said. I would rather be the hammer instead of the nail being hammered.."
Cooper had the chance to work with Arkansas linebacker coach Taver Johnson during the three-day camp.
"The linebacker coach – Coach Johnson – he is a great coach," Cooper said. "He is the kind of coach that doesn't want any mistakes from you. He will push you on every play. If you do get it right, then he will let you know that, but he will also get on you if you do it wrong."
Cooper says he is constantly learning the differences between being a defensive lineman and a middle linebacker.
"Down as a nose, you know what you are getting," Cooper added. "At linebacker, I kind of know what the linemen do, but I just have to put it all together."
Cooper has visited Arkansas, Ole Miss and Arkansas State unofficially.
"As far as colleges, I haven't been thinking about it much because I still have two more high school seasons to play,' Cooper said. "So it really hasn't been on my mind that much."
Cooper is a strong young man as evidenced by the fact bench presses 350 pounds, does 290 on the power clean and 440 on the squat.
He will be trying to help a West Memphis program that has been a traditional power.
The Blue Devils have a challenging early schedule that includes opening at home with Ashdown on Aug. 31, hosting Pulaski Academy on Sept. 14 and traveling to North Little Rock on Sept. 28.
They were 10-2 last season before losing to Bentonville in the state playoffs.
"I know that we are going to have a great defense, a good line and a good backfield," Cooper said. "We just need to get more practice. We did look good in our spring practice game."
Be The Hammer
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