In a tradition-rich football state like Ohio, the Buckeyes have one main job when it comes to recruiting. Ohio State has to build a wall around its state and keep the top prospects in each class within the border, in Columbus playing their college ball for the Buckeyes. One of those top recruits was just down the road from Ohio State's campus as Gahanna-Lincoln star defensive end Jonathon Cooper was tearing it up on the gridiron right in the Buckeyes' own back yard.
Verbally committing to Ohio State in November of 2014, the job of keeping Ohio's best at home was off to a great start. Interestingly enough, as big of a name as Cooper is now, that was not always the case. However, this Buckeye commit has a work ethic that rewarded him incredibly for his performances at Nike's The Opening, Rivals Five-Star Camp, Ohio State's Friday Night Lights, and more. With each camp stop and his dominating performances, Cooper's stock rose to the top drastically and eventually earned him his five-star ranking.
After an incredible career at Gahanna-Lincoln and showing just how tough he really is -- he competed through injuries to help his team in the 2015 state playoffs -- Ohio State already knew what they were getting when Jonathon eventually came to campus. Enrolling early on January 11 of 2016, Cooper has a head start in learning under defensive line coach Larry Johnson and hoping to cement his name in the defensive line rotation for 2016. With the departures of Joey Bosa, Adolphus Washington, and Tommy Schutt along the defensive line, Cooper is just another name that shows Ohio State reloads with each recruiting class.
While Ohio State certainly already has plenty of talent currently on the defensive line, Jonathon Cooper will only continue the trend of young, but more than capable pieces to the defensive puzzle. With Cooper already being on campus, look for him to crack the defensive line rotation this fall. I certainly wouldn't doubt him.
Jonathon Cooper has the measurables (6'2 ½, 234 pounds) and the speed off the edge to wreak havoc in the Big Ten for years to come. He possesses long arms and a quick first-step that gives tackles and sometimes multiple blockers issues. Cooper is built like a hybrid 4-3 speed rusher or a 3-4 outside linebacker, similar to Aldon Smith.
Right now, Cooper wins with his speed and quickness over his strength, but since he enrolled early, he may be on his way to becoming a complete defensive end. He defeated high school tackles without a variety of pass rush moves; however, he has an excellent defensive coaching staff to develop him further. His motor does not stop and he fights to the whistle.
Overall, the Gahanna Lincoln product possesses all of the necessary tools to battle for a spot in the defensive line rotation and he only helped himself by getting to Columbus early. - Christopher Jason