In just a couple of months, OL Jonathan Cooper from Hoggard High School in Wilmington, NC has gone from a sleeper prospect to one of the state's most highly recruited offensive linemen. After impressive showings at several camps and combines over the summer, Cooper has now earned eight scholarship offers. The rising senior recently told Pack Pride that all of the extra work over the summer has also helped raise his game to another level. He added that his newfound popularity among the college coaches has made him a hit with his teammates.
"Just being at all the camps and combines really picked my pass blocking game up tremendously," said Cooper. "I noticed that when we're doing one on one drills at practice, no one can get by me.
"It's crazy. All the other players on my team want to be like me now. All the offers make me feel good and it's nice to know that you'll be able to go to college for free. I've got three siblings in college right now so it's going to feel good to take the burden off my parents."
Cooper has offers on the table from Duke, South Carolina, Wake Forest, NC A&T, Buffalo and East Carolina. He recently landed pledges from UNC and NC State. Cooper talked about both programs.
NC State- "All my options are open, they have just as much chance as any other team right now. They're a good program. They have beautiful facilities- great team rooms and film rooms. They're up there. Actually I had no idea they were going to offer because they hadn't showed me much attention. But it turned out one night they called and offered and my coach told me."
UNC- "That was a big offer. They have great facilities. Coach Pittman talked to me for like three hours. They got a great recruiting class this year and I feel like, over there, I'll be playing with some great players. Like Marvin Austin, I couldn't imagine playing with him on my side."
As Cooper begins to narrow down his list, he has started to think about his future official visits. He stated that isn't sure if he'll need to take all five.
"I may take just enough (visits) until I figure out what I want," he said. "(If I picked today) it would probably be Wake Forest, UNC and South Carolina. For two more I'd say NC State and Buffalo."
This coming week, Cooper will have an opportunity to go head to head against one of North Carolina's top players when Hoggard squares off against Scotland County and their four-star LB, Terrell Manning. Cooper said he's looking forward to the challenge.
"I've been hearing he's (Terrell Manning) like a four or five star recruit and me just being a two-star recruit," said Cooper. "But, that's alright. We'll see what happens. My QB might have sounded a little worried but I was like, ‘that's alright. I've got him.'"