With between 800-1000 players in attendance Sunday at USC’s Rising Stars Camp, Buena Park (Calif.) four-star receiver Devon Cooley knew he was going to have to shine to stand out.
The Trojans were watching a handful of the prospects in attendance intently. They wanted to see them in action in person to see how they performed. Cooley was one of those.
The 6-foot-2, 175-pound Cooley is listed in the Scout database as a receiver, but he has two-way ability. He could also be a collegiate level defensive back. The Trojans are looking at him as an athlete. On Sunday, he played primarily receiver, but said he would be open to either side of the ball with USC.
“The latest talk was about athlete,” Cooley said. “They'll have me up there as both and whatever happens, happens when I get there.”
“Having that versatility, it helps me a lot. Like Adoree' at USC, he was playing DB at first and he ended up playing both ways. I feel like it will be great for me as an athlete-wise because in college I'm hoping to play both ways.”
After the camp, Cooley said he was told by the coaching staff that "they were going to make a decision” on whether they wanted to offer Cooley.
“I’m hoping to hear from them maybe about an offer, but if not, I also want to get better at what I do. I'll also ask them what can I do to get better at receiver, get better at DB. Either way it's a win for me.”
If that offer comes, the Trojans would be a frontrunner.
“That offer would stand out to me heavy because that's my hometown,” Cooley said. “That's a place that I love. My dad loves USC, so it would stand out a lot. That's my hometown college. It's great. It's awesome. I love the coaches up there and I also love the players up there.”
A number of schools have already offered Cooley, including six Pac-12 schools. Washington State was the latest. It was a big offer for Cooley because the Cougars want him to play both ways and he knows how much usage he could get if he gets into the receiver rotation of their air-raid offense.
Cooley plans to take all of his visits before making a decision, which he thinks will come after his senior season at Buena Park. Before making a college choice, he wants to experience some more campuses with his family so he can get his parents’ feedback — “just to see what they think, see what they think is best for me and what's best for what they want to see me do in the future.”
As of now, Cooley’s parents haven’t suggested he stay close to home or try to fly away from the family nest. Instead, what they have emphasized more has been finding the correct fit.
“They want me to have a fair chance in college,” Cooley said. Some players they don't have a breakout season or they're not able to play for some reason. They want me to make my decision myself, but they want me to have a fair chance.
“They just want to make sure that I'm happy. They want to make sure I'm able to go for academic reasons also, come out successful and have a chance to play in the NFL. That's always the plan.”
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