North Carolina Receiver Interested in Illini

Fighting Illini football coaches are putting out early offers for top prospects around the country. They are emphasizing the home state first, but they also have strong relationships in other areas. Co-offensive coordinator Chris Beatty has good connections along the eastern seaboard, and North Carolina receiver Corey Cooper is reciprocating Beatty's early interest.

Receiver Corey Cooper enjoyed an outstanding sophomore season for Millbrook High School in Raleigh, North Carolina. His statistics declined measurably last season, but it was through no fault of his own.

"Last year, we had the #1 running back in Keith Marshall, so my year kind of dropped. Keith was the star. My sophomore year was better than my junior year. I scored 10 touchdowns. Hopefully this year will be my year. We have a good quarterback who can get me the ball."

Assistant coach Chris Beatty is Cooper's recruiting coach for Illinois. The two are in the process of getting acquainted.

"I've talked to him two times. He seems like a really cool guy. I don't know that much about Illinois, but we just started building these relationships."

Cooper, who's favorite team as a youngster was Clemson, has several college offers already.

"I have offers from NC State, UNC, Oklahoma State, Iowa State and of course Illinois."

He has made several visits to schools close to his home. More distant locales are on the agenda for later in the year.

"I've gone to UNC, and NC State is in my back yard. I'm also going to Duke and Maryland, and I'm going to Clemson. I hope to visit Illinois sometime in the summer. I definitely want to visit there."

He plans to attend summer camps at Oklahoma State and Iowa State as well, and he may add others once he consults with his dad.

"My dad and I haven't really talked about all the camps I'll pick. My dad went through the recruiting process too, so he helps me a lot. He went to Southern Connecticut."

The 6'-0", 185 pounder is reluctant to brag, but he feels he has assets as a wide receiver that can help many college teams.

"I feel I'm a pretty good deep threat. I beat a lot of my opponents. I think I'm football fast. I'm not track fast, but I'm football fast. I think I have good quickness. If you look at my highlight tape, I guess you could say I don't have any problem gaining separation from cornerbacks. I like the deep ball best."

Cooper, who expects to play defensive back also in 2012, wants to work more on his speed and footwork. He considers several criteria important in picking a college.

"I'm looking for somewhere I can play early. Academics of course, and how the fans treat you."

Illinois is moving to a spread offense this year. Does he have a preference on type of offense?

"It doesn't really matter what kind of offense. Of course wide receivers like the spread, but it doesn't really matter to me."

Cooper begins spring football March 20th, and he plays AAU basketball in the summer. He is still considering his academic options for college.

"I'm not sure what I want to major in. It'll probably be something related to sports management, something like that. But I haven't really decided."

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