South Carolina Safety Keeping Options Open

Last year, Michigan was able to lure top South Carolina defensive tackle Adam Patterson away from the Southern schools. Will they have the same success with another S.C. star? Safety/linebacker Scotty Cooper spoke Monday with, and said the Wolverines are high on his list.

Although he doesn't personally know defensive tackle Adam Patterson of Richland Northeast High School in Columbia, S.C., who signed with Michigan in February, safety Scotty Cooper of Lake City High School said he is well aware that his South Carolina brethren headed to the Big Ten. Cooper recently received his own offer from the Wolverines. "The coach who recruits my position called my head coach and asked that I call Coach (Lloyd) Carr," Cooper said. "I did, and he told me he wanted me to come play for Michigan and that I had a scholarship offer."

The Wolverines join South Carolina, Clemson, Virginia Tech, Kentucky, and North Carolina State as schools that have reportedly put their offer hats into the ring for Cooper's signature in February. "I know Coach Carr and the coach from Virginia Tech are coming down in the spring, whenever they are allowed to talk to me," Cooper said. "I'm wide open at this point, but would like to have a decision by the end of summer. If I'm 100-percent than I'll make a choice. If I'm 95-percent than I'll wait and take some official visits."

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound Cooper said most schools, including Michigan, are recruiting him as a safety. Others are waiting to see how he grows. "The bigger I get the closer I'll be to playing linebacker," he said.

Cooper returned Monday from an unofficial visit to N.C. St. "The thing that impressed me the most up there was the facilities," he said. "I also got to visit with Coach (Chuck) Amato and I liked him a lot."

The talented Cooper said he prefers talking to the head coaches rather than the assistants, and that will be a factor in his decision. "We'll see how many head coaches come to see me, not the assistants, by the head coach," he said. "I'll be looking to see how much they (head coaches) keep up with me. Another thing is going to be how I get along with the guys I'll be playing with. I'm not going to pay too much attention to the seniors because they won't be there when I get to school, but the freshman and sophomores are important."

Spring break is fast approaching for the students at Lake City, and while many will be off to play with their friends, Cooper will be visiting colleges. "I'll be going up to Michigan and Virginia Tech during my spring break," he said. "I may also visit Clemson. I know I'm going to Clemson for their Nike combine."

Born and raised in South Carolina, Cooper said it would be easy for him to stay close to home because his family would be able to see him play. However, he added that he is wide open. "It really doesn't matter to me where I play, I just want to play football," he said.

Cooper is a friend of another top Michigan target who hails from Gamecock state. "J.R. Hemingway and I lift weights together and run track against each other," he said. "I know he's seriously looking at Michigan too." He added that he runs the 100 and 200-meters, along with the 4X100, and sometimes the 110-meter hurdles.

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