Terps Tracking PA Linebacker

The Terps pulled a linebacker out of Coatesville, Pa., in the 2014 class, and now Maryland could be targeting another thumper about an hour away in Warminster.

The Terps pulled a linebacker out of Coatesville, Pa., in the 2014 class, and now Maryland could be targeting another thumper about an hour away in Warminster. Archbishop Wood junior Jake Cooper is a 6-foot-1, 230-pound true middle linebacker who racks up tackles and fills holes like nobody's business. His team is currently on a six-game winning streak and in the quarterfinals of the Pennsylvania state playoffs, and Cooper has anchored the defense.

"The team is playing real well and we're moving," said Cooper, who has 120 tackles, two sacks, an interception return for a touchdown, a punt return for a touchdown and two fumble recoveries. "And me personally, I've done pretty good. Six touchdowns for a defensive player? I can't complain (laughs)."

So far Cooper claims two early offers from Pittsburgh and Temple. He landed the Owls verbal back during the May evaluation period and picked up Pitt during Week 2 of the regular season after a Panthers coach came to see him play.

A couple more offers could be coming in short order.

"I'm going to Syracuse Saturday and they seem pretty upfront about an offer that's coming, so hopefully I'll go up there and get that one," Cooper said. "And Maryland, Coach [Keith] Dudzinski said [the staff] would sit down with the head coach [Randy Edsall], watch one of my games, talk to me about my interest in Maryland and discuss an offer."

Cooper was actually in College Park, Md., last weekend for the Terps-Boston College game. It was his first time in Maryland, and the Pennsylvania linebacker thoroughly enjoyed himself.

"It was a great atmosphere, a great time," Cooper said. "I had a lot of fun down there. It was definitely a way different experience than a place like Penn State and a few other games I've been to. But the stadium was awesome, and the fans were great. It was a great night for football and a big game against Boston College. It was a physical game, the defense played well, and unfortunately Maryland wasn't able to to pull out a win, but it was still exciting."

Before the game, Cooper had a chance to meet his recruiter, John Dunn, as well as Dudzinksi. He said he enjoyed speaking to both coaches and plans to stay in touch as he goes through the recruiting process.

"I'd like to get back to Maryland," Cooper said. "Maybe I'll go up for a junior day or something like that. I have a few things planned like [visits to] Stanford, Michigan and a few others, but nothing is set in stone. We'll see what happens."

One quality that stands out about Maryland is the fact the Terps are moving to the Big Ten in 2014. Cooper sees himself as a prototypical Big Ten linebacker and made no bones about his intentions to play in that conference.

"Exactly, the Big Ten suits my play exactly," Cooper said. "Power football, smashmouth football. That's me through and through. It's a lot of pro-style, big backs, filling the hole, not a ton of spread. I love it.

"So that [the Big Ten] move does help Maryland. The ACC is awesome, but moving to the Big Ten opens my eyes a little bit because I definitely want to play in the Big Ten."

But while Cooper seems genuinely interested in UMD, there are plenty of other schools he's just as high one. He said he's "wide open" but would "love" to get offers from Stanford (a school that's tracking him closely), Wisconsin, Nebraska, Michigan State, Michigan and Penn State. The latter program, his hometown school, is a personal favorite.

"Penn State, that would be great to get an offer from them," said Cooper, who, in addition to the four aforementioned schools, is also receiving interest from Minnesota, Michigan State, Michigan, Wisconsin, Nebraska and Duke, as well as Penn State. "I'm very fond of them. I like it a lot and love the coaches up there. It's a great place to watch a game and the atmosphere is awesome. [PSU] is a great fit for me and it's right in my backyard. I'd probably go through with an official visit and all that and really look hard at them."

"But [getting a PSU offer] wouldn't end my recruitment. I'd sit back and see what my other options are. I'm still open to anyone who wants to give me a look."

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