On Saturday, Corey Cooper and his parents attended Notre Dame's spring game, and the 6-foot-2, 195-pound playmaker left the campus with greater feelings for the Irish program.
"Pretty much neck and neck right now," Cooper said of Notre Dame and Illinois. That's a significant jump since I'm committed to another school.
"They surprised me. I didn't expect to have that much fun. They definitely moved up."
That's great news for the Irish coaching staff, since the Proviso East (Maywood, Ill.) standout is the first receiver Notre Dame offered in the recruiting class-of-2010. Cooper wowed head coach Charlie Weis and company at the school's summer camp, and he finally made it back to campus this weekend.
"It was good, Cooper said. He also holds scholarship offers from Purdue, Northwestern, Stanford, Michigan State, Minnesota, Arizona and Tennessee.
"I liked the fans. The way they recognized me, that surprised me. I liked the game, it was impressive. I liked the conversations I had with some of the coaches. Everything was cool."
Weis has already visited Cooper's school, and the two got a chance to sit down and talk.
"He was just letting me know that I'm an important piece," Cooper said. "I'm what they're looking for in their offense. He was just telling me to come down there and get familiar with the Notre Dame family, and hopefully I'll be a part of it."
As a junior, Cooper caught 41 passes for 814 yards and eight touchdowns. He also had 61 tackles, 14 pass breakups, three forced fumbles, an interception and a kick return for a touchdown.
Cooper keeps in regular touch with Rob Ianello, and spent plenty of time with the Irish receiver's coach on Saturday.
"I was pretty much with him most of the day," Cooper said. "He was talking about my role in the offense, and going over plays and stuff. He was showing me the academic parts and what Notre Dame could do for me after football."
Cooper isn't sure when he's going to make his college decision.
"I won't rush it," he stated. "I'm just going to keep visiting other schools, and weigh my opportunities, and wait it out."