UNC Pursuing Md. DT

North Carolina has joined the list of schools recruiting Darian Cooper, a four-star defensive tackle.

"I guess they went through a coaching change – I know Coach [Charlie] Coiner said he's new to the job," Cooper said. "He said he came in and looked at all the people that they offered and he brought in some papers and film of guys that he wanted."

Among the guys that Coiner wanted was Cooper, a 6-foot-2, 290-pounder from Hyattsville (Md.) DeMatha Catholic.

Roughly a month ago, Coiner first made contact with Cooper.

"He had called me, introduced himself, and said he's the defensive line coach at UNC," Cooper said. "He said he just stepped into the job. We just got to know each other from there. He told me what the situation was over there. He told me he was starting from scratch with the guys that he's recruiting."

Since that first phone conversation, Coiner has called Cooper every week.

"He'll call me just to check up on me," Cooper said.

Coiner has also mentioned scheduling an official visit to UNC.

"[Coiner] asked me about [an official visit]," Cooper said. "But really, he said he just wanted to get to know me. He's not going to press me for any dates yet. Because he came into it so late, he's just going to get to know me and work from there."

During the Thanksgiving weekend, Cooper is considering driving through Chapel Hill to get a preliminary look at UNC.

"I'm going up to North Carolina – to Goldsboro – to see my grandmother this weekend," Cooper said. "I might make a surprise visit just to walk around the campus and see how it looks."

After conversing with Coiner the past month, Cooper has inserted UNC into his favorite schools list, which also consists of Georgia Tech, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State, Penn State, and UCLA.

"I haven't talked to Coach Coiner for long, but he seemed like a pretty good guy when I talk to him," Cooper said. "I like him. I heard that UNC has produced a lot of defensive tackles. One of my coaches used to work out with Marvin Austin – he coached him when he was younger."

All seven aforementioned schools have offered Cooper a scholarship.

With his senior football season completed, Cooper's next step is to map out his official visit schedule. He hasn't taken or scheduled any official trips and isn't sure which five schools he'll officially visit. However, all seven favorite schools have discussed possible visit dates.

Shortly after taking all five of his official visits, Cooper plans on making a verbal commitment.

"I really want to pick a place where I have a strong relationship with the coaching staff, a place where they're going to better me as a man – not only as a football player – and I'm really looking for a place where I feel comfortable and my family feels comfortable," Cooper said. "I want to go into the business world when I grow up, so a place with a strong alumni base would definitely help."

Cooper has started at defensive tackle the past two seasons for DeMatha, which went 9-3 and lost in the Washington Catholic Athletic Conference Title game this past Saturday. Cooper ended his senior season with 78 tackles, 12 sacks, and eight forced fumbles.

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