Cooper Narrows Focus on Programs

Darian Cooper, the 6-1, 290-pound defensive tackle from Hyattsville (Maryland) DeMatha Catholic, has narrowed his list of programs to seven schools, but he's trying to determine if he wants the urban school experience or the college town type...

Darian Cooper, the 6-foot-1, 290-pound three-star defensive tackle from DeMatha Catholic High School in Hyattsville, Md., has narrowed his of list of schools to seven: Penn State, UCLA, Georgia Tech, Iowa, Michigan, Michigan State and Maryland. All have offered.

"I still haven't narrowed my list of schools to five and I'm still trying to separate them," he said. "It's hard to say what school is my leader right now because I'm still trying to figure out what kind of college setting I want to be in – whether I want that college town feel or metropolitan feel."

So far no school jumps out as a leader for's No. 23 defensive tackle.

"They're all recruiting me hard and doing it in their own ways," he said. "For example, Penn State is one of those schools that doesn't push too hard, but they've got coaches who like to stay in touch to let you know they're really interested.

"UCLA is a school that I was on the phone with on Wednesday, while Iowa's coaching staff has had some of their players contact me. Michigan actually had their entire coaching staff write me a letter, while with Maryland, well, they're right down the street so I'll bump into coaches from their staff while when I'm sitting in traffic or something and they're like, ‘Hey, Darian, come by and visit us when you get a chance.'"

But staying close to home isn't a top priority for Cooper.

"Being close to where I live isn't extremely important," he said. " My mom plans on moving when I graduate and before this whole recruiting process started, she was talking about moving back to Florida. I've also got a large family that's spread out over the country so I have no ties to one coast or another."

Cooper also has not set any official visit dates.

"I know I want to get out to UCLA and Michigan in December and I'd like to take all five of my official visits," he said. "I mean that's an opportunity that only comes around once. I'm not going to rush this process and though I've enjoyed it, I still want to find a home ASAP, but I'll commit as soon as I'm ready.

"I want to be at a place where I've got a strong relationship with the coaches and be with a staff that can nurture me not only as a player but as a man as well," Cooper said. "I want to be comfortable with my surroundings and actually take the degree that I earn and use it for something. I think it's also important to go to a school with a strong alumni base."

DeMatha Catholic takes on Loyola High School in its first game of the season on Saturday.

Cooper reports a 2.6 GPA and a 1400 3-part SAT.

"I'll probably take it again," he said. "My school counselor said to give it another shot and just try to do better – hey, it couldn't hurt."

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