Fitting the System

A growing number of high schools are using offensive and defensive systems similar to that of the West Virginia football program, and that fact has naturally made the players at those schools a bit more attractive to the Mountaineer coaching staff.

One of those players is Lake City(S.C.) High School's Scotty Cooper, who plays a position similar to the spur in West Virginia's scheme. From that spot, the two-time all-region selection recorded more than 100 tackles, including four sacks and 11 tackles for losses in 2005, and figures to better those numbers this year as a senior.

At any level of football, a defensive coach's first goal is to put playmakers in the position to use their skills to the best of their ability, and that is certainly what Lake City has done with Cooper. His combination of speed and tackling ability makes him a perfect candidate for either of the hybrid safety spots at West Virginia, and the fact that he is already familiar with many of the concepts of the positions only adds to his desirability in the eyes of WVU's coaches.

"I like playing against both the run and the pass, and I'm probably equal in my ability to defend against either one," Cooper told "But I do like coming up and hitting people. That's probably my favorite thing."

An aggressive attitude, of course, is one trait that is necessary for the spur and bandit spots at WVU, as has been exemplified recently by the play of such players as Mike Lorello and Eric Wicks – a pair of gems that were mostly overlooked by recruiters coming out of high schools. Cooper, however, hasn't faced that problem, as he already has offers from a number of schools, including Clemson, Michigan, N.C. State and Virginia Tech. He says he is still "kind of open" in the recruiting process, and could make WVU one of his official visits this fall.

"I've always know about them, but I learned more about them this year when they won the Sugar Bowl," Cooper said of West Virginia. "I got to watch them a few times, and I like they way their defense moves around. I would be comfortable in their defense if I went there."


Cooper's athleticism is so good that his coaches also use him on offense. He has played quarterback, wide receiver and running back, and also returns punts and kickoffs.

"They try to get me the ball 15-20 times per game," he noted.

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Cooper, who says he "probably will make an early decision", plans to attend Clemson's summer camp. That is his only planned destination to date.

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Members of the Lake City coaching staff were in Morgantown for the coaches' clinic the weekend of March 31.

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Cooper is also a member of his school track team, where he runs the 100- and 200-meter dashes, the 110 hurdles and is a member of the 4x100 relay team. His best 100-meter time is 10.5 seconds.

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