For whatever reason, Fort Collins high school's, Jon Cooper wasn't on a lot of radars just over a month ago. It's certainly not for the lack of ability, as this staunch 6'3"-275 pounder is said to be a serious prospect out of the Rocky Mountain state. Running a reported 4.95/40, about all you need now is the attitude to play the position.
Oh, he's got that as well.
"When you play inside, you have to play with the attitude that you don't take any prisoners." Cooper stated. "It's like you want to hurt them and you don't stop until that whistle blows."
All this and some better late than never publicity got Cooper noticed enough for his first offer about a month ago and he's been enjoying the steadily increasing attention ever since. "It's been great." Cooper said of his continually rising popularity. "I guess I had some expectations, but nothing like this."
"This" means a total of eight offers in a month, those coming from Iowa State, Iowa, Missouri, Wisconsin, Colorado State, Nebraska, Oklahoma State and Wyoming. For a young man that just over a month ago didn't have any, this has been relieving of sorts to see, but Cooper has a good perspective on how he thinks about his ability now versus before any offers were on the table. "I guess it's like a reward for hard work." Cooper stated. "But, it's not like I think of myself as good or anything. I just work hard, play hard and I guess they like what they see."
What they see or what Cooper expects them to see of the Colorado prep-star is a player that takes his position pretty seriously. As you've already read, he's not the kind to ask to play paddy-cake out there, but Jon said that, that was just part of what makes you successful on the field. "I'm aggressive and go one hundred percent every play." Cooper stated. "I don't know how anyone can be playing and not go right up until the whistle blows. But, I'm also very smart out there and I know how to finish a block."
Cooper's combination of physical skills and mentality for the game has equated to his blossoming reputation. So much so that aside from the offers he currently has, Jon stated that he's receiving particularly strong interest that could lead to offers from schools like Kansas State, Southern Cal and the other in-state school, Colorado.
The increased attention is something that players could take a couple of ones-either feeling the pressure a bit to get the decision over or feeling a little relief and knowing that they can take their time. Jon approaches the latter scenario as the one he'll take this year. "I've got the offers now and I might get a few more." he said. "So, that gives me some options, but I want to make sure I look at every school out there so that I make the best choice for my future."
Jon will be attending a few camps this Summer, the first being a team camp at Chadron State in Nebraska. The other two camps will be a two-day and a one-day camp at Iowa State and the University of Iowa, respectively. As for any other possible unofficial visits, Cooper is undecided at this time.
About the only thing Jon is sure about right now is that while some players would respond to the offers by scrutinizing each and every one, now that he has the offers, it's time to do exactly the opposite and look towards his last year of football at the high school level. "It's something I am trying to put in the back of my mind right now." Cooper said of the recruiting process. "We have 16 starters coming back and have a strong chance at a state-title run, so that's what really has to get my focus."
"I've got the offers and I might get more, so now I just need to think about my team and finishing my career off strong."
Steve Ryan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org 402-730-5619