"I've got 18 offers right now," Cooper said. "Recruiting has been pretty crazy."
It's been crazy, but even Cooper, who is humbled by the increasing attention, would like to think that he's getting it for a reason. And one of the big reasons isn't just the fact that he has proven he can play his position well, but more toward the position that he plays.
"Safeties have to do it all, which is why I think my versatility is one of my biggest strengths," Cooper said. "The linemen are almost always there to stop the run, and depending on the system you have, most linebackers do that as well, and the outside linebackers never get real far away from the line.
"Safeties have to be everywhere – both sides, behind the line of scrimmage – we have to do it all."
With that kind of devotion for the position, you might find it a little surprising that for most of his junior campaign Cooper was actually a defensive end. And this year he's going to be a linebacker for the team.
Yeah, I'd say that's versatility.
"I got moved all over, so that the coaches could take advantage of what I did, so that other players on the defense could make some plays," Cooper said. "I've played defensive end, linebacker and safety."
With his 5-11, 190 frame, though, not even the 143 tackles, four sacks, five forced fumbles, five fumble recoveries and two touchdowns he scored from the down position, will convince him his future is anywhere but in the secondary. "Oh, I'm a safety, no doubt about it," he said. "Vanderbilt has offered me as a linebacker, but at my size I think safety is easily the best position for me. Besides, I like playing the field, because it gives me more chances to make plays. That's when it's the most fun."
The recruiting process is fun as well, but Cooper said that with that there comes a little scrutiny. Not from the public mind you, but from Cooper himself. At one point of his prep-career, he realized that suddenly he was a wanted man. Once that set in he knew that it was time to start looking at these schools with a different eye. "It's been real important for me to get the know the schools who are recruiting me. The more I know about them, the more comfortable with looking at those places as somewhere I might like to go."
That's why the most recent offer from LSU and an offer from Nebraska two weeks ago – they are great, but he needs to learn more about those teams. "LSU just offered me, so it's about getting to know the team, the coaches and all that," he said. "And Nebraska offered me, but that was it. I have never talked to a coach from there or gotten any other letters. It was that offer and nothing since."
Cooper said that he's wide open at this point, but if he had to name off a top five, being very strict to his criteria of going with what he knows, this is how he said it would shake out:
"Right now it would be Wisconsin , Minnesota , Texas Tech, Kansas State and Oklahoma ," Keanon said. "I know more about those schools than I do anyone else. The more I get to know about other schools or the more attention they are showing me, that list is probably going to change. I just have to stick with what I am familiar."
And if you are wondering if Cooper is just waiting around, hoping that the Longhorns would offer, that may have been true at one point, but not anymore. "It would be nice to see them get involved, but I don't worry about it at all," he said. "There are way too many great teams coming after me to worry about what they do. I'm really lucky to get the attention I have, and whether it's inside the state or outside of it, I know that with the schools I have now, I am going to end up at a great place."
Cooper was recently at the Scout.com Combine in Dallas , where he was named to the All-Combine team.
JUNIOR HIGHLIGHTS 1 -
JUNIOR HIGHLIGHTS 2 -