Stoops Meets with Top DB

At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, Saint Augustine, Fla. standout safety Willie Cooper has been keeping very busy lately. Unfortunately, the recruiting process is capable of doing that.

"It's weird because the longer I dragged it out, the easier I thought it would become," Cooper said. "But in reality, it's only gotten harder for me. I never realized how similar all three of these schools are."

The three schools Cooper is referring to are Florida State, Florida, and Miami. He's trying to decide among the three after having visited two already.

"Florida State and Florida were great," he said. "They're both college towns where everything is about football. They have a good atmosphere, good coaches, and I liked the guys I hung out with. I grew up thinking about Florida State but the recruiting process made me look at different things and right now all three of them are even."

Cooper will take his last visit this weekend to Miami along with his parents and younger brother.

"I'm going to check things out," he said. "The big difference with Miami is it ain't really a college town so I'm going to check the atmosphere around the school. I want to hang out with some players to see what they think. Hopefully I'll learn enough so that I can make a decision next week."

The standout safety said every time a coach comes to talk to him, he discusses early playing time.

"I don't know why either because that ain't even a big deal to me," he said after Bobby Bowden visited on Monday, while Mark Stoops and a Florida coach visited yesterday. "There will be competition everywhere. The depth charts always have guys on it and they're all good players. It's a matter of going in and whoever has the most football knowledge will play. It's knowledge over ability and not the other way around when you get to places like that that have a lot of talent to begin with."

Cooper said he hopes to have a final decision made next week.

"I only have two weeks left but I don't think I'll wait that long," he said. "I'll visit Miami and then I'll sit down and compare all three of them and pick whichever one I feel most comfortable at. It ain't going to be easy, that's for sure."

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