Chicago DT a long-time Badger fan

Bernard Cooper needs no introduction to the University of Wisconsin

There was no hesitation in Bernard Cooper's voice.

The 6-foot-1, 265-pound defensive tackle at Chicago's St. Rita High School has been receiving the most interest from Illinois, Northern Illinois and Minnesota.

Cooper does not have a scholarship offer yet, but who are the class of 2006 prospect's favorites?

"Wisconsin was my favorite, is still my favorite," Cooper answered quickly.

"It's been my favorite since like seventh grade," he said. "I don't know, I just like the atmosphere."

Asked if he has ever been to a game in Madison, Cooper responded without waiting for the question to finish formulating.

"Oh yeah," he said enthusiastically. "I got to at least three or four games a season probably."

Cooper was not quite sure why he started liking the Badgers in junior high, but he estimated that he has been to between 20 and 30 games at Camp Randall Stadium.

"I don't know, my brother got me hooked on it," Cooper said. "He'd watch the games on TV and go to the field. I don't know, there's just something about it I like. I don't know what it is though."

Cooper does have a connection to the Badgers. UW's second string punter, sophomore Paul Standring, was a quarterback, defensive back, kicker and punter at St. Rita.

"He graduated from Rita so I know him and his dad and I see him all the time," Cooper said.

Cooper, a two-star prospect, said he has received a few letters from Wisconsin expressing interest, but that Minnesota, Northern Illinois and Illinois have shown more interest in him. Those three schools are also high on Cooper's list, though not quite on the same pedestal as Wisconsin. He is also hearing from Louisville.

"They don't really tell me that much but just like they're very interested in me," Cooper said of the Gophers, Huskies and Illini, "and hopefully we can get around to campus and check me out and just keep in touch with me."

Cooper said that he is being recruited as a defensive tackle by each school showing interest. He will be a two-year starter at that position this season. He also subs in as a tight end.

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