Ohio State’s spring practice is around the corner. The Buckeyes have already started training for the 2016 season and the team will begin spring practice March 8. With nine underclassmen and a number of seniors departing from the 2015 team that went 12-1, there are plenty of questions surrounding the 2016 Buckeyes. BuckeyeSports.com is taking a look at some of the young players suiting up for Ohio State this spring and what they have to gain between now and the Spring Game on April 16.
What Cooper Has Done: Cooper enrolled early in the spring and was the top recruit in the state of Ohio in 2016. In his senior season at Gahanna Lincoln High School, Cooper recorded 65 tackles and 12 sacks. He was selected to play in the U.S. Army All-American bowl after being named an Associated Press all-state performer as a senior. While he has yet to step onto the playing field as a member of the Scarlet and Gray, Cooper has the ability at 6-3, 224 pounds to drop back into coverage if needed from his defensive end position, making him a valuable threat on the defensive line.
What The Coaches Are Saying: “Jonathon Cooper, might be a little bit on the edge where you might not be as physically dominant on the inside. But, again, we recruit those guys with the idea that we think that they can come in and give us an opportunity to compete and vie for some playing time, especially if you're playing nine or ten guys up there.” – Luke Fickell
Why Cooper Is Important: With three starters lost on the defensive line, Cooper will help provide depth to a position group that has a lot to prove this season. While he likely needs to put on some weight for the coaches to put him in the rotation, Cooper could very well see action early if he is healthy. The defensive end position group is crowded to say the least, with Sam Hubbard, Tyquan Lewis, Jalyn Holmes and Nick Bosa all vying for as much time as possible. Being an early enrollee will help Cooper’s chances of seeing the field, and competing in the crowded position room will only push him to get better.
What Cooper Has To Gain: Enrolling early and allowing Mickey Marotti to begin sculpting his body will likely prove to be a huge plus for Cooper once the season starts to roll around. Not to mention the fact that his position coach Larry Johnson is one of the best in the business. While he battles injuries throughout his senior season in Gahanna, Cooper has a chance to impress the coaches in spring practice and try to gain as much favor with the staff before the younger Bosa brother comes in in the summer. If he handles his business and adds some muscle, Cooper could very well make an argument for early playing time in 2016.
Check out more from our series on the most interesting young Buckeyes: