Cooper Picks Hurricanes

At 6-foot-2 and 190 pounds, St. Augustine, Fla. standout safety Willie Cooper will be signing with the Hurricanes on Wednesday morning.

"Man, that was one tough decision," Cooper said on Tuesday night. "I remember all the way back to when these schools first started calling me and even when they first started sending me mail. And it took me all this time to make a decision. I'm going to be a Miami Hurricane."

Cooper informed the UM coaches of his decision on Tuesday and said he enjoyed the response.

"I could tell Coach Stoops and everyone was excited," he said. "I was so happy to tell them that I was glad to see how happy they were. They said I made a good decision."

Cooper decided in mid December that he was going to play college football inside the state of Florida.

"Oklahoma, Georgia, and Penn State were some of the ones trying to get me to take visits," he said. "I almost went to Oklahoma but didn't even go. I didn't need to because why leave when the best football in the country is played right here [in Florida].

"Then after my visits to all the Florida schools I got it down to Florida State and Miami. I went back and forth before finally realizing that Miami was just the best situation for me."

Cooper said he went back and forth several times and almost went with Florida State.

"I came real close to committing there even before my visit," he said. "Coach Stoops really made a difference. He kept me interested the whole time then I went out to the all star game and heard some of the guys from Miami talking so highly of the program and everything. Then my visit really put a cap on it. It's got everything I want."

One of the things Cooper wants is a chance for early playing time and to someday play on Sundays.

"They said I just have to work really hard and I'll get a chance," he said. "Sean Taylor came in when Ed Reed and another guy were there and it didn't bother him. He started playing right away. I want to be like that. If you want to play big time football, surround yourself with big time players, and prepare for the NFL, then Miami's the place for you. It was for me."

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