When a running back rushes for 1,400 yards on 167 carries and 21 touchdowns, college coaches will take notice. They also perk up when hearing the letters ACL. Latreal Cooper has done both, and now he's ready to get back to dazzling scouts on the football field.
"I was real upset at first," said Cooper of his injury. "I just realized that I was not going to let it set me back. I decided I was going to work hard and bounce back.
"You start thinking about things a little more seriously. You start thinking about your future more seriously."
"It takes heart and motivation to recover. It takes a lot of hard work, but we're ahead of schedule by a couple of months so I'm really looking forward to getting back."
A number of schools have remained interested in Cooper, and he's hoping more will be on the way.
"Oklahoma State, Texas A&M, Purdue, Iowa, Texas Tech, Baylor…there's a lot of them that are recruiting me," Cooper said. "They all say they like my film, they just want to see if I can bounce back from my injury."
The Cuero, Texas star has decided to give some schools a quick peek as he has taken some time to visit some schools around Texas recently.
"I went to a couple of junior days at Texas and A&M," he said. "I really liked it at both places. I'm not sure if I plan to go to visit anywhere else yet."
Growing up in Austin meant Cooper found a fondness for the Longhorns.
"I used to live in Austin so I guess you could say I was a Longhorn fan," Cooper said. "I cheered for them, but I'm open to anyone right now. Texas, A&M, Texas Tech, Oklahoma, LSU, Florida State, Miami….those a just a few of the schools I'm interested in."
We asked Cooper if Notre Dame had been in contact with him this spring.
"I've gotten a few letters," Cooper said about the Irish. "I haven't really looked into Notre Dame yet. It's something I plan to do, but I don't know much about the school or their coaches yet."
The next line of business for Cooper is to test his repaired knee.
"We've signed up for the Nike camp and I'm hoping I can get my doctor to clear me to do that," he said. "I'm planning on going to a few camps this summer. I just want to prove that I'm back and let people know I'm back."
Cooper, who says he currently holds an 86 percent average in school, says academics will be an important part of his decision.
"You have to think about the education," said Cooper when asked what would be important when making his final decision. "I don't want to go to some school that's all about football. I want and all-around college because you don't know when football could be all over with."
Fortunately for Cooper, football is still a reality, and he's dead-set on showing everyone he's back and still one of the best.
Comments: Cooper didn't seem to know much about Notre Dame. He seemed open to anyone, but also seemed impressed the most with the local schools. We'll check back soon and see if an interest develops.