Cooper Preparing to Setup Official Visits

Despite being consumed by the playoffs, Jonathan Cooper is looking to focus more on recruiting and begin to take his official visits.

"I think I'm going to start taking them after Thanksgiving so I can get them all out of the way," Cooper said. "And I should take all five."

Cooper, a 6-foot-3, 305-pound offensive lineman from Wilmington (N.C.) Hoggard, lists North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wake Forest as definite official visit destinations, while the final two allotted spots are open.

Although Cooper doesn't have a leader, he admitted that the three aforementioned schools have separated themselves from other interested schools such as East Carolina and NC State.

"[The three schools] are all a good mix of football and education," Cooper said. "They're all recruiting me pretty hard, too."

However, Cooper revealed that UNC is recruiting him the hardest. In addition to letters, he speaks to Sam Pittman, UNC's offensive line coach, frequently.

"Lately, he's not been trying to recruit me on the phone, but ask more about me and find out more about me," Cooper said. "Our relationship is pretty good."

Cooper says he will look to make a verbal commitment "shortly after the visits."

"I don't know what it is, but [I'll be looking for] something to stick out to me that says I need to go to that school," Cooper said.

In the meantime, Cooper will be anchoring both lines at Hoggard, which is seeded No. 1 in the NCHSAA 4A East bracket. The Vikings have a potentially competitive game Friday when they host Durham (N.C.) Hillside in a third round match-up.

"It's going better than I could have expected," Cooper said of the season. "After going 14-1 last year, it's like -- how can we even compare to that season? To come back and go undefeated again is pretty amazing."

Another highlight for Cooper is his strong involvement on defense. He began the season just starting at left guard and seeing rare reps at defensive end. However, injuries have forced Cooper to become a two-way starter.

"As an O-lineman, you don't get any kind of gratification – other than just knowing that you just opened up the hole for the running back," Cooper said. "It helps you a little bit by hearing your name called every now and then again during the game."

Cooper is averaging four tackles a game.

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