Cooper: "I'll be in Miami this Weekend"

Graig Cooper, a five star running back prospect from Orange Mound, Tenn., recently recommitted to the Miami Hurricanes.

Graig Cooper had previously committed to Miami last spring, but did not qualify academically and decided to spend a year of prep school at Milford Academy.

Cooper was excited to commit. "I feel good about it," Cooper said of his commitment. "I never really de-committed though, I was just looking around. I feel good; it feels the same way it did before."

While Cooper insists he never officially decommitted, most recruiting services listed him as a de-commit several weeks ago following the firing of head coach Larry Coker. Cooper's interest in other schools stemmed primarily from a curiosity about the football facilities of other schools, a curiosity that one current ‘Cane helped him extinguish.

"I was looking at other schools' facilities and just seeing how good they looked," Cooper said of his visits to other schools. "But then I had a talk with [Jon] Beason. He said it wasn't about how your weight room looked but what you do in that weight room that counts. He said that there was a tradition at Miami and I could be a part of that. I just thought it over and on Sunday I told my dad I was going to recommit."

One possible explanation for Cooper rescinding his earlier commitment to Miami was the extra attention he was receiving from other schools, due in part mostly to the increased exposure that comes with being a five star recruit.

Originally recruited for the class of 2006 as a three-star recruit, Cooper excelled at Milford Academy, averaging close to 15 yards per carry and gaining tremendous amounts of national exposure. Despite the new attention, Cooper remained grounded throughout the process.

"I felt like I should have had the same attention last year but I guess other schools didn't look at me that hard. It's the same though; I don't even look at it that way. My coach told me I was the highest ranked back in the nation but I'm still the same person and there isn't much else to it."

Cooper attributed his success to a good environment at Milford, mostly due in part to an increased level of competition that helped him prepare more for college football at a premier program like Miami.

"It (Milford) helped me a lot. It was faster and I was playing against older cats so I was wondering about how I was going to react to that. It wasn't too much different from high school. I know it's going to be even faster with D1 ball so I've been trying to get ready. It's what I've been training for."

At Miami, Cooper will most likely be asked to contribute immediately. The Hurricanes offense was less than spectacular this year, and at times seemed to need a spark, something that Cooper feels he can bring. "All I can say for sure is that I'll work hard," Cooper said about the prospects of playing early. "I can catch the ball. I can do kickoff and punt returns and I look forward to doing all of that. There's a lot that I think I can contribute to next year. I'm going to work for what I want and try to have a successful career."

"My vision and my quickness are my best assets. I also have good strength, but mostly good vision and feet. I know don't look like it but I have a lot of strength."

Cooper nearly didn't make it to Coral Gables, however. There were rumors about his test scores possibly being the reason why he began considering other schools. No one will ever know though, because Cooper's latest ACT score of 19 made him academically eligible for Miami.

"There was always a question. I got lucky on the last test and made a 19 on it. Miami stuck with me though, they took me to prep school because they didn't want me to go to JUCO and lose two years. So they sent me to prep school and I went and started working on my SAT, and when I came back home I took my ACT and passed it"

With questions of eligibility no longer an issue, Cooper is officially ready to be a Hurricane. All of his hard work has paid off, and he will enroll at Miami for the spring semester. How long until he makes it to campus to begin his college career?

"I'll be there next weekend," he said.

Canes Time Top Stories