Nearly every kid who grows up in the state of Ohio dreams of one day having the chance to run out onto the beautiful turf of Ohio Stadium in the Scarlet and Gray. For one local prospect those dreams became a reality today.
The summer after earning his scholarship offer from Ohio State, Gahanna Lincoln class of 2016 defensive end Jonathon Cooper gave his verbal pledge to Urban Meyer and the Buckeye coaching staff on Friday. Rivals' Marc Givler first reported the news.
The 6'3, 220-pound Cooper, who has made the short trip to the OSU campus quite a few different times for camps and visits, didn't just have the Buckeyes trying to add him to their roster, but also programs such as Michigan State, Notre Dame, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana, and Toledo, who all offered the four-star prospect a scholarship over the last few months.
Blessed with pretty decent speed and ball skills, Cooper, the 13th ranked weak-side defensive end and 195th overall prospect in the 2016 class (according to the 247Sports Composite), could also see time at outside linebacker once he reaches Ohio State. Cooper grades out as a Top 10 talent from the state of Ohio.
Our Christopher Jason broke down Coopers' tape:
Jonathon Cooper is an intriguing defensive prospect who may line up at defensive end or outside linebacker in Columbus. His size (6'3, 220 pounds) makes him a tweener with decent but not great athleticism. If I were to take a guess just from watching his film, I would say that he will take a redshirt year to gain muscle mass and play weak-side defensive end.
Cooper has a knack to rush the passer and does very well at keeping his outside shoulder free. He also does a great job at tomahawking the ball loose on quarterbacks and looks like a true playmaker when rushing the passer. Like most kids his age, he does not have an arsenal of pass rush moves, but he wins battles based on his size and athleticism compared to his opponent.
Overall, Cooper is still only a junior in high school but he has a high ceiling once he settles into a permanent position. Is he going to workout and gain mass to become a full time defensive end? Or is he going to work on his athleticism to try to be a stand up outside linebacker in Ohio State's 4-3 defense? Either way, the Buckeyes got a good one.
Here are some highlights of the future Buckeye from last season, brought to you by Hudl: