Cooper Hitting The Road

Woodlands High School defensive end Michael Cooper might need a couple of 5 Hour Energy drinks this Spring. The 6'5" 230 pound player from The Woodlands, Texas has thrown himself full-go into baseball season, playing first base and in the outfield, but along with that and schoolwork, he has been making time for plenty of school visits.

DeaconSports caught up with Cooper while he was on the road at a trip to the University of Arkansas and discussed his busy schedule, making the switch from tight end to defensive end and how his brother Perry Cooper, a UNLV signee, has helped him prepare for the recruiting process.

DeaconSports: Tell me a little bit about yourself so people can have some background on you.
Michael Cooper: I played tight end all throughout junior high and right before last season I made the switch to defensive end. I played there and a lot of special teams. We ended up losing in the second round of the playoffs to Sunny Point, but I thought I had a great year.

DS: How much more comfortable do you feel at DE now that you have had some time to fit into the position?
MC: I feel really good right now. During spring football, I switched to WR because we were running a spread offense. A week before the first game, they asked me to switch over to DE to help the defense because we had a lot of question marks. I didn't play much at first, but as the season went on, I learned a lot and I feel really comfortable now. I'll be starting next year at DE.

DS: As far as the attention schools have started to give you, how did that start?
MC: We have a running back, Daniel Lasco [4 star, #18 RB], that a lot of schools have been looking at and they'd come up here to look at him and everyone else to see what we have. I guess my coaches have done a good job of showing me off to the coaches. I also have gone with my brother when he was being recruited to get my name out there.

DS: With your brother going through the process, how has he helped you prepare for the recruiting game?
MC: He has helped a lot. He has helped me with talking to coaches—through email, in person or on the phone. He has a good feel for what visits I need to go to and how interested teams are. We are making these trips based on how interested teams are.

DS: As far as baseball is concerned, I know it's got to be tough to balance everything out. Are you able to get in the weight room too for football?
MC: At our school, we have an athletic period, so I decided to stay in the football period. I work a lot during that and do off-season stuff for that. Then I go over to baseball practice. I also have a personal trainer through school that I go to after practice. I'm really keeping up all my football stuff while I play baseball.

DS: How is baseball season going?
MC: We were pre-ranked number one in the state, but we have had some trouble and it hasn't gone as well as we wanted so far, but we're still on pace to win our district and I think we can turn it on in the playoffs. We'll see how it goes.

DS: Who have you visited so far and who are you planning to visit?
MC: I visited Wake Forest of course, I went to Rice last weekend. I visited Virginia last year, I'm in Arkansas right now and I'm going to go to Arizona State and UNLV in the next couple weeks. Last summer with my brother I also saw Northwestern and Purdue.

DS: You have a lot of good academic schools in there. How important are academics to you and how's school going for you?
MC: It's very good. Academics are very important to me. I'm using football to get me into college for academics. I want to go to a good school. I'm taking a bunch of upper-leveled classes for school and I am really trying to keep my GPA up just in case football doesn't work out.

DS: Talk about your strengths and weaknesses in your game.
MC: I had an offensive mindset going into the season since I was working in the spread offense. I really worked on my speed and quickness through the whole summer, but when I made the switch, I was a little thin since I had been training for receiver. But since then, I'm really trying to get my strength and weight up. The hardest part has been working for the new position. The good news is that I still have the speed, but I have the size as well to play DE.

DS: You did visit Wake. Could you give your impressions of the school and the coaching staff?
MC: I had a great visit. I went out there and the weather was great. I spoke to Coach Grobe. My recruiting coordinator, the defensive ends coach, was wonderful and was really nice to me and my family. Everyone around the area was just noticeably nice. The school is one of the most beautiful campuses I've seen. I like the fact that it is a smaller school so that you can get more one-on-one attention and the professors know your name. Plus, a Wake Forest degree would be wonderful.

DS: Have you received any official offers yet?
MC: No I haven't. Not yet.

DS: Do you have a short list or any favorites?
MC: Wake Forest is up there definitely. I also really like Stanford. I haven't picked any favorites yet; it is all up in the air to be honest.

DeaconSports Note: After his Arkansas visit, Cooper had this to say: "The coaches were great and the facilities were very solid. I also liked the campus—it was surrounded by hills and was pretty big. The weather wasn't as nice as when we went to Wake, so that was just bad luck, I guess."

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