Hanging With Darian Cooper

Dematha's Darian Cooper continues to get plenty of interest from top national programs, including a strong bond he's forming with Penn State.

With two-a-days set to begin in just a few weeks, Darian Cooper of Maryland juggernaut DeMatha is enjoying the last bit of summer. Recently, the stud defensive tackle took a visit to Blacksburg and enjoyed learning about Virginia Tech and hanging out with a few of the players. Everything from the facilities and campus to "Hokie Rock" impressed Cooper.

At this point, Cooper had thought his top five would be set in place, but with so many top programs offering him, he isn't sure who will make the cut.

One program getting plenty of love from Cooper is Penn State.

"They're a great program, a national program," Cooper told FightOnState.com. "I was up there in the spring and I really liked it. The facilities are great. I tried taking a photo of the stadium and I couldn't. I think I'll need an aerial shot for that one."

Cooper cites a strong relationship with Penn State coach Larry Johnson. He says the two communicate regularly in addition to getting mail from the program. In the spring, Penn State coaches visited DeMatha to meet with head coach Bill McGregor. They got a chance to see Cooper train and talk with the player briefly.

The defensive tackle said that Penn State isn't recruiting him as aggressively as most programs – and that isn't a bad thing.

"Coach [Johnson] asked if we could talk once a week," Cooper said. "Which is nice, it isn't like some programs that are after you on the phone every day or texting or email. That fits into my schedule better, you know? What I like is that we talk about things other than football, we talk about life too."

While he hopes to have a top five by the end of summer, Cooper said that Penn State could well be in the mix along with some other heavy-hitters. He says he has a good bond with programs like Michigan State and Iowa and raves about the recruiting efforts of Michigan. With Rutgers, he says he has become fast friends with Al Page, a verbal to the program, and they talk regularly. In-state, Maryland is telling him that the program is on the rise again and that he can be a big part of the future.

No matter the program, Cooper says that he has his mother talk with the coaches whenever possible. He values her advice and insight into the recruiting situation.

"She wants me to pick someplace where I'll become and grow into a man," Cooper said. "Not just on the football field – not just somewhere where I'll be another player, but off of it too."

Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012

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