Texas Tech Interest Has El Paso DB Tristan Cooper Rethinking His Options

El Paso Andress defensive back Tristan Cooper has seen his recruitment take off this month and Texas Tech throwing its hat in the ring may have shook everything up.

Word is out on defensive back Tristan Cooper and Power Five schools looking to round out their defensive back class are starting to make B-lines for El Paso Andress High School.

Just a month ago Cooper (6-foot-1, 180 pounds) had gone a year without receiving a new offer, but was mulling quality options such as New Mexico, Texas State and UTEP. 

Then in early January bam! Arizona offered, followed by Big Ten schools Illinois and Purdue. Then Texas Tech entered the picture earlier this week, but has yet to offer.

"Texas Tech used to be my favorite school," Cooper said. "The thing is they never messed with me so I was just like dang."

Why was Texas Tech Cooper's favorite school growing up?

"I used to be a HUGE Crabtree fan," Cooper said. "Ever since I saw him at Tech I said to myself, 'I'm going there'."

Associated Press

On Tuesday at school, Cooper met with coaches from Purdue who offered him a scholarship, but not long after, he was hailed back to his coach's office for a big surprise.

"My coach didn't even know he (Texas Tech assistant coach Joe Robinson) was coming by, he called him 30 minutes before he showed up," Cooper said. "And so all I was expecting was Purdue and my coach said 'hey come back up to my office', so I go over there and it was Texas Tech and I said to myself 'dang alright'."

Coach Robinson met with Cooper and watched film of Cooper for the first time in the coach's office with him there. Cooper said Robinson told him he liked his jam at the line of scrimmage which could help both as a corner and on special teams. 

Robinson called him back on Wednesday looking to see where he was at with his visits ahead of National Signing Day on Feb. 3. Cooper is checking out Arizona this weekend and then has officials set up with both Illinois and Purdue next week. 

"He told me, 'don't go committing now'."

Robinson also said he was going to watch Cooper's film with the coaches up at Tech on Friday and if they like him Robinson and another coach would fly back out to El Paso to see him more in person and if everything goes well they most likely will offer.

Cooper said Arizona's program in a strong conference and its close proximity is very appealing to him "it's perfect for my family", that he wasn't really considering Purdue and Illinois due to the long distance. He said Tech's late interest has him reconsidering his options.

"I was really kind of planning on committing to Arizona because the coach was saying 'hey if we're your No. 1 why don't you just commit now'," Cooper said. "I told him 'come on coach, I have to come see the campus and get to know you. Maybe I won't like it up there.' I was kind of set on it but now since Tech has come into the picture, I'm like damn."

Cooper said he's even considering replacing visits set for Purdue on next Thursday Jan. 28 and Friday before Illinois that Saturday and Sunday with a trip to the South Plains to check out his favorite school growing up. 

"I mean I would lose two visits, but most likely I wasn't going to go there," Cooper said. 

Cooper said the worry is someone takes his spot at Arizona and then Tech doesn't offer or he doesn't like it, but sounded pretty excited about his possibilities with the Red Raiders.

"I don't know if I'm going to take the visit to Texas Tech before I commit somewhere, but if the coaches do come down and I like what they say that will likely be the last thing that goes in mind. Should I take their word on it and commit to Tech or should I commit to Arizona."

He added he doesn't want to wait all the way up until signing day to make a decision, that he wants to commit by the weekend before. 

"I love it, but then it stresses me out so much," Cooper said. "I'll do a bunch of research on a school and be like 'O.K. this is where I'm going to go' and then another school starts talking to me, I get a bigger and better offer and I have to do more research on another one. Now, I'm to the point I don't know what's happening."

As a senior, Cooper was a first-team All-District 1-5A performer both on offense and defense. He led Andress with 30 receptions for 408 yards as a receiver and tallied 61 tackles, an interception and a fumble recovery at both corner and safety in 11 games. 

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