Cooper Left Illinois Impressed

A young star on the rise, 2016 defensive standout Jonathan Cooper left his visit to Illinois impressed.

CHAMPAIGN - Jonathan Cooper turned heads throughout Saturday's Illinois Junior Day.

He was one of the many recruits on campus, touring the facility and taking in all that was presented.

But for a kid still just a sophomore, the defensive end/linebacker prospect out Columbus, Ohio had the look of a star on the rise. He's already 6-3, 215 pounds and holds offers from Kentucky and the Illini.

He's visited Lexington, his only other visit to date, but left Illinois more than impressed.

"It was an amazing experience," Cooper said. "I really had a good time learning about the defense and the Leos and the Stars."

Cooper was speaking about the hybrid positions in the Illinois scheme. The Leo a linebacker/defensive end role, the Star a defensive back/linebacker look. With that in mind, Cooper spent most of his time with defensive assistant Al Seamonson.

"I think he's a great guy," Cooper said. "I think he's a great coach. I think we'll be able to build a great relationship together."

The recruiting business is just taking off for Cooper, but Saturday's visit was his best yet. It was a good start for the Illini, who have placed an emphasize on Ohio prospects in the past.

"I've been to Kentucky. It was nothing like this," he said. "There were a lot more people and I got to see the practice and see the players and get more one on one time."

Next up, Cooper will visit Michigan in two weeks. He's also drawing interest from Michigan State and Ohio State. Stay tuned to his recruitment. It figures to be a battle for his signature.

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