State Native Gaining Attention

West Virginia anticipates a big group of linebackers in the class of 2005, and one early target has the Mountaineers high on his list.

"My leader right now is West Virginia," said Weir High School's Zac Cooper. "The offered me after camp last week. I like everything about the school and they have shown the most interest in me."

Although the powerful two-way player hasn't set a timetable for his decision just yet, he is leaning toward making a decision before his senior season begins.

"I think I want to commit before senior season starts. I'm about 75% sure of that. I want to be able to have it out of the way so I can enjoy my senior season."

Cooper, who has gotten in-home visits from Cincinnati, Syracuse and Marshall as well as WVU, has also received a great deal of communication from schools such as Pittsburgh, Illinois, Nebraska and Akron. And while he admits that he is interested in those schools as well, he says that WVU's camp experience moved them into the lead.

"It was just a really nice camp. Very instructional," explained the all-state selection. "It was probably one of the best camps I've been to. The coaches are with you the whole time - they don't have people fill in for them. They work with you.

"It felt like a real practice for me, and I liked that. The drills and techniques we were taught were very good."

Cooper is no stranger to the WVU campus, having attended several games during previous years. As is the case with most recruits, he mentions the outstanding facilities as one of the features that makes WVU attractive.

Cooper was an all-state pick on defense after recording approximately 115 tackles during his junior year, and also earned all-region and all valley honors on both sides of the ball. He rushed for more than 1200 yards from his fullback position last year, but knows that his future is as a linebacker.

"I'm projected as a linebacker, and that's good, because I like defense a lot better," he laughed.

Cooper plans to continue his summer camp tour with another visit to West Virginia's sessions in June, and will likely make other trips as well. He has already attended camps at Notre Dame and Penn State (Nike).

Cooper is following in the footsteps of another hometown hero, Quincy Wilson, who had a great career for the Mountaineers before moving on the NFL as a draft pick of the Atlanta Falcons. Cooper admits that having a player from the same school at WVU has boosted interest in West Virginia from many people in Weirton.

"A lot of people woould like to see me there," Cooper said.

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