"He has such good ball skills and he's so savvy," Havelock head football coach Jim Bob Bryant said. "He's one of the smartest football players I've coached… He's definitely a great football player and can do a lot of things with the ball in his hands… He has a legit 4.5 in the forty, a 4.2 shuttle, he has a 34-inch vertical jump, and does not drop anything. He makes unbelievable catches, he makes the easy catches – he's the best wide receiver I've ever coached. He's physical and he's strong… He's a workhorse in the weight room."
The past two seasons, Cooper has been Havelock's overall most valuable player. Also in his trophy case is the offensive MVP of the NCHSAA 3A Title game and an AP All-State as a junior.
As a junior, Cooper was a touchdown-scoring machine. Offensively, he scored 20 touchdowns (14 receiving and four rushing) while lining up at wildcat quarterback and receiver. He also took five punt returns, three interceptions, a fumble recovery, and a kickoff return to pay dirt. His touchdown total could have been significantly higher – he had six non-offensive touchdowns called back by penalty.
Cooper's junior season accomplishments allowed him to set the school single season record for receiving yards (1,200) and helped Havelock to an undefeated season and NCHSAA 3A Title, which was played at Kenan Stadium.
"It was a great experience going out on UNC's field and playing in a big environment [and] big atmosphere," Cooper said. "I felt really good to win it."
For his senior season, he'll be moved to quarterback.
"He'll be one of our best overall athletes playing quarterback," Bryant said.
In mid-January, East Carolina became the first school to offer Cooper. He's also receiving significant interest from Alabama, North Carolina, NC State, Notre Dame, and Wake Forest.
Bryant believes it's only a matter of time before UNC offers.
"After seeing his highlight tape, the Carolina guys were calling him ‘Honeycomb' instead of ‘Honey Badger,'" Bryant said. "They were like, ‘Honeycomb! That sun-of-a-gun is scoring from everywhere on the field. So we call him Honeycomb.'"
Most schools are recruiting Cooper as a receiver. UNC is in the minority, projecting him as a defensive back.
Cooper has attended junior days at East Carolina and NC State. He'll attend UNC's Junior Day this coming Saturday.
For the time being, Cooper doesn't claim any favorite schools.
"I'm just keeping my options open," Cooper said.
Cooper also plays guard on Havelock's basketball team.