Talented LHP Down to Two

Every SEC baseball program has something to promote, and after a busy weekend of recruiting visits, one prized pitcher isn't ready to choose between two conference schools.

Left-handed pitcher Jordan Cooper (6-foot-2, 185 pounds) tripped to Ole Miss Saturday and picked up an offer from the Rebels before completing his weekend with a visit to Kentucky on Sunday. The Knoxville, Tenn., native was undecided prior to the stops, and that didn't change after productive meetings with both quality programs.

"It is just really close between Ole Miss and Kentucky, pretty much those two," Cooper said. "Both have advantages, so I just need to take some time to decide. There's not a timetable or a rush."

Cooper enjoyed Oxford's small town environment, and the tradition that is in place at Ole Miss. The idea of playing for a proven winner in front of a supportive fan base is appealing for the left-hander.

"It is a neat small town, and there are always a ton of fans," Cooper said. "Coach Bianco came from LSU, and he has always been a winner. They are at the top. It is just those two schools."

While Kentucky doesn't possess the same facilities or lengthened success as Ole Miss, the Wildcats recent rise in the SEC and the hiring of former pitching coach Gary Henderson to replace John Cohen are selling points for Cooper.

Henderson has guided the Wildcats' arms for five seasons, and the most recent Kentucky staff led the league in ERA.

"Coach Henderson has had great pitching staffs at Kentucky," Cooper said. "His hiring helped the fact that Coach Cohen left. Kentucky has been good for several years now."

Cooper uses a good curveball and an excellent change-up to accompany his 87-90 MPH fastball. The rising senior was 7-1 with a 1.50 ERA last season when he led Farragut High School to a state title in Tennessee.

"I want to work more on my offspeed pitches and increase velocity this next season," Cooper said. "I'm not ready to decide on a school yet, but it is getting closer."

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