West Memphis junior grid standout Jarvis Cooper is putting in the work and now he is very anxious to see the payoff.
Cooper (6-1, 252), whose team began spring practice on Monday, is a versatile athlete being recruited at six different positions - fullback, tailback, tight end, H-back, defensive end and linebacker.
The versatile Biue Devil has offers from Arkansas State, UCA and Memphis while also getting interest from Arkansas, Alabama, Auburn and Ole Miss.
"I'll be honest with you, I really am trying to figure what's the hold-up from all these big schools that I really want offers from," Cooper said. "They all tell me they really want me and that I am a great football player, but haven't put the offers down. I hope that is coming soon."
Arkansas and Alabama have both sent coaches by recently to check out Cooper while Auburn and Ole Miss are slated to have coaches on hand soon to see him practice.
He met with three different Razorback position coaches – tight ends coach Barry Lunney, defensive line coach Charlie Partridge and running backs coach Joel Thomas - when he visited Arkansas' campus in early March.
"I have had the opportunity to meet Coach Lunney, the running backs coach Coach Thomas and Coach Partridge the defensive line coach," Cooper said. "They all seem like great guys and great coaches."
He also likes what he sees from new Arkansas head coach Bret Bielema, who he also got to hear speak at a Razorback Club meeting in West Memphis.
"First of all, he is just very funny, has a great personality and is very cool," Cooper said. "I like his mindset, how he wants to be physical and play tough football. That is what I am all about."
Cooper, viewed as one of the state's top five 2014 prospects, had 64 tackles as a junior – including a whopping 29 for lost yardage, seven sacks and one pass break up.
He also had over 1,000 yards rushing as a junior.
Cooper notes that Alabama sees him as a defensive end or linebacker, Auburn as a H-back or tight end and Arkansas State as a running back or middle linebacker.
Arkansas, a place he has seen several games at the past couple of years, loves his versatility and is looking at him at a variety of spots.
"When I went up there, they (the Razorbacks) told me how they want to use me as either a power tailback, a fullback or as a defensive end-linebacker type guy," Cooper said. "I don't really care where I play, but I do like to do the hitting whether I have the ball or not."
Cooper, who has also been to Junior Days at Memphis and Auburn so far this year, admits that he really wants a Razorback offer.
"This is my home state," Cooper said. "I would really like to get an offer from Arkansas so I won't have to leave home to play in college. I hope it is coming soon."
Cooper was expecting to play linebacker for West Memphis last season, but ended up playing fullback on offense and manning nose guard on defense.
Nose guard was also where he played as a sophomore when he was named the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette's Sophomore Defensive Player of the Year.
"My coach and I talked about it before the season and he said that it would be better off for the team if I was at nose guard and making plays on every down instead of dropping back and covering on some of them," Cooper said.
"This season we are going from a 4-4 defense to a 3-4 one and I am suppose to be playing a mixture of defensive end and linebacker," Cooper added. "I'm looking forward to that."
In doing that, Cooper wants to come into this season at a different weight.
"I have been bouncing back and forth between 250 and 257 or so, but I want to play at around 240 next season so I am going to be working hard to get to that weight this spring and summer," Cooper said.
West Memphis was 8-4 last season, beating Rogers Heritage 43-36 in the opening round of the playoffs before ending the season with a 42-0 loss to Bentonville.
Cooper is going to be involved in an ACT workshop this summer as he works to improve his score.
He also has plans to attend camps at Arkansas and Alabama.
"I can't get to a lot of camps because I am going to be preparing for the ACT with this workshop," Cooper said. "I think the test is on June 8. Then I am going to try and get up to Arkansas camp and then Alabama wants me to come down and just work out for them."
He is hoping that the offers come sooner than later.
"Look I would really love to have an offer from Arkansas right now and Alabama and some others," Cooper said. "I guess I am just going to keep pushing and show them why I deserve one."
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