Cooper amazed by visit

Lithonia (Ga.) LB Cedrick Cooper had been to the South Carolina campus before. But not like this. Cooper took an unofficial visit in the summer but says this time he got a full-fledged look at the South Carolina program.

The Gamecocks are in the market for one final linebacker in the class of 2011 and they would like for Cedrick Cooper to fill that need.

Cooper took his official visit to South Carolina this weekend and was impressed with what he saw from the South Carolina program.

"When I got there, we went down to the quads and chilled for a while and (the current players) just told me a little bit about their college experiences."

After hanging out with the current players on Friday, Saturday featured a full day of activities.

"The academics are top of the line," Cooper said. "The last time I was up at South Carolina like towards the summer, I didn't really get the tour, but I got the full-fledged tour of everything, like I saw everything. The quads, academic center is tremendous. Like if you don't get your degree, it's you, it can't be them because ... whoever doesn't get their degree, it's just practically impossible with the academic stuff they have."

One of the highlights of the trip was going to the Gamecocks' basketball game against Kentucky and meeting the nation's top prospect.

"The basketball game was real fun," Cooper says. "(Jadeveon) Clowney, he came there, and they were like 'We want Clowney, we want Clowney,' so it was real fun being there with Clowney. It was kind of exciting. I sat right behind him, so me and him were right near Coach (Steve) Spurrier."

Cooper also liked what he saw from Spurrier's presentation of football awards at halftime.

"Oh, it was nice. I was real excited when I saw it. I was just ecstatic, so it was nice."

Another highlight of the trip was just to hang out with Spurrier and talk about how he would be used if he attends South Carolina.

"He was telling me that he needs guys like me to come play special team, outside linebacker, inside linebacker with my type of speed, my frame and the way I play, I'll be getting an opportunity to play as a freshman," Cooper said. "And Coach Spurrier, he's real fun. He knows what he's doing. He's real laid back. He's a very community [oriented] guy. I have no problems with him, he's just a great coach."

Cooper also enjoys an excellent relationship with his recruiter of record defensive coordinator Lorenzo Ward.

"Coach Ward is hilarious, I will tell you that. He is hilarious. And the thing about it is you really got to listen, [because] he talks so fast. Some of the stuff he says, you're just like, 'What?' And when he says it over, he has to say it slower."

While the visit opened his eyes to South Carolina, Cooper is not ready to name a leader yet. He says South Carolina, Arkansas and maybe Ole Miss make up his final list of schools. He will take an official visit to Ole Miss this weekend.

"As of right now, I'm just debating. However, I'm still going to make my choice on Signing Day. So right now, it's just like basically talking it over with my coaches and family and stuff like that. It's based off that basically, just when I make my choice, it's what's best for me, because it's my choice and it's where I'm going to be happy with."

Cooper says he will weight the pros and cons and pray about his decision.

While he isn't ready to name a leader, he says South Carolina definitely helped itself with this weekend's visit.

"South Carolina, they stand out because they really amazed me, because coming in the summer, I really didn't get that much of a tour and it was kind of a blur for me. Now coming and seeing absolutely everything, how they are, it's good. It really amazed me that South Carolina would have all that they have."

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