Spurrier visits Tar Heel State lineman

John T. Hoggard (Wilmington, NC) standout offensive lineman Jonathan Cooper is one of the top o-line prospects in the Tar Heel State's class of 2008, and the athletic trench warrior received a visit from USC Head Coach Steve Spurrier at his school on Wednesday afternoon. How did that visit go, and where do the Gamecocks stand in the race for the big man's services? Read inside to find out.

The 6'3", 304 pound Cooper, who has helped lead his team to a perfect 13-0 record and a berth in the state semifinals this weekend, received a visit from USC coaches Steve Spurrier and Brad Lawing on Wednesday, and he enjoyed listening to the Head Ball Coach's vision for him at South Carolina.

"It was pretty good," said Cooper. "Coach Spurrier was talking about how they're in the need for another talented recruiting class and how I could be a part of the first South Carolina team to ever win an SEC Championship. He was just telling me how I could come in there and potentially have time to play, but if I needed another year he'd redshirt me."

According to Cooper, his mom was in attendance as well, and Spurrier won her over with his enthusiasm and charm.

"My mom, she kind of already had a school picked out for me. Then when she came in, she said she had her mind made up that she wasn't going to like (Coach Spurrier), but he came in there and she liked him a lot. He was very down to earth. Some people talk about how he's not a nice person or something, but he was very nice and very polite. He was full of energy."

Although he is still intensely focused on his senior season, Cooper acknowledged that four teams currently stand out in the race for his services, and he shared what he likes about each program.

"I'd say Wake Forest, North Carolina, South Carolina and maybe N.C. State. Those are my top schools."

Wake Forest - "Good education and good football. They're a small school, so I know they have good (class sizes). That's a good thing."

North Carolina - "My recruiter, which is my position coach, we've just started to build a relationship together, talking all the time on the phone. If I haven't talked to him, my mom's talked to him, and she's telling me I've got to call him. I like Butch Davis, and the main thing is if they could bring in some good recruits, that would help with my decision."

South Carolina - "They had an off season this year, but everybody does. I think Steve Spurrier's going to build them up and turn them into a great team. They're recruiting me as a center or guard, and they said I could possibly try out on the d-line."

N.C. State - "Their o-line coach was at one time during the season ranked the #2 offensive line coach in college football. I like him. I like what I've seen him do for Boston College, and I think he's a great o-line coach."

Cooper plans to schedule a few official visits in January, and he hopes to have a decision made on his college choice shortly after those trips.

"I'm still trying to decide. Because of the Shrine Bowl and hopefully my team playing in the state championship, I'll make a commitment in January after I take some visits," said Cooper. "I guess I'm just looking for the coaching staff that I'm most comfortable with and a good football program and good education."

Cooper has been selected to participate in the annual Shrine Bowl of the Carolinas next month, and he is looking forward to that event for several reasons.

"I'm looking forward to getting together with other great D-I athletes and just having fun and enjoying football. I'm looking forward to spending time with the other guys and getting to know them. Hopefully seeing them and knowing which schools they're going to, they can help with my decision. That will help influence me in knowing where I want to go."

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