At 6-3, 285 pounds, Jonathan Cooper from Hoggard High School has emerged as one of North Carolina's top offensive line recruits for the class of 2008. Timed at 5.25-seconds in the 40-yard dash, Cooper has proven to be a load on the combine tour this spring and, as a result, has landed interest from a bevy of schools.
Hoggard has become a regular stopping off point over the last several weeks for schools checking in on the rising senior.
"So far I've had UNC, Clemson, Maryland, South Carolina, Duke, East Carolina and NC State come by," said Cooper. "ECU came by and they gave me a pamphlet for their senior day camp. They said they wanted to see what they'd be getting if I go there. Maryland made it seem like they would offer this month and everybody else was talking about me coming to summer camp. I've gotten offers from East Carolina and North Carolina A&T."
Cooper says that most schools like him as a guard but he hopes to give defensive tackle a shot as well this upcoming season.
"Most of the schools recruiting me like me as a guard or center but a few have said they think I'm too short," he said. "So, I'm going to see try defensive tackle and see how that goes."
For now, Cooper has six schools at the top of his list with East Carolina establishing themselves as a major player for his commitment.
"My top schools would be Wake Forest, Clemson, Duke, South Carolina, East Carolina and Maryland," he said. "The main thing with East Carolina is they offered and they were the first to do it so that's big for me. They have nice facilities and went to a bowl game last year and that makes it even better. "My trainer is from ECU and he was telling me how good the offensive line coach is there."
Any school that hopes to make a serious run at Cooper will need to do so fairly quickly as he plans to make a commitment before the end of the summer.