The story of Mookie Cooper took another turn yesterday night. The four-star OSU commit is the 78th prospect in the nation, the No. 16 wideout and another highlight in Brian Hartline’s incredible 2020 class. He committed to the Buckeyes on July 8, but I’m sure both he and the Buckeyes would’ve loved to have seen what he could do in his final high school year.
That is not going to happen, as Cooper was officially ruled ineligible for his senior year. Cooper, like many high school athletes that will go on to play in the NCAA, wanted to graduate early and join OSU as soon as possible. Unfortunately, his initial school Trinity Catholic does not allow their students to do this. So Cooper left for a school that would, and transferred to Pattonville Senior High School.
Transfers are always a tricky subject, not just in college athletics, but also high school sports as well. The transfer portal has been making waves in the NCAA landscape, and the NCAA regulations on who gets a waiver and who doesn’t remains maddeningly inconsistent.
Regardless, the high school level doesn’t have any sort of portal, and generally will not allow waivers for players transferring for mainly athletic reasons. Cooper’s old school of Trinity Catholic made that specific case and the ruling finally came down that Cooper could not play for Pattonville.
It’s not particularly surprising, but it is disappointing that schools still feel the need to block high schoolers from playing football where they want, especially when the player otherwise meets all of the zoning and eligibility requirements.
Competitive balance is important, but, at the same time, I feel like it should take a back seat to these athletes that are simply trying to do what is best for their futures. However, as of now, these are the rules, and this is the reality.
Cooper is not letting it get him down however, and the Buckeyes confirmed to him that this does not change their offer. In fact, it may be a blessing in disguise for him, as he does not risk his body to injury, and clearly OSU does not feel like he needs to prove anything else on the field.
He can now use the time to make sure that he’s in the best shape of his life, study the Buckeyes’ film and talk to the coaches, making sure that he’s 100 percent ready when he does step on campus hopefully this spring.
Number one 2021 athlete has OSU in his top-ten
On Wednesday, Emeka Egbuka released his list of the final ten schools that he is considering. He is one of the most talented players in the country, and his 247sports rankings say it all. He’s a coveted five-star prospect, .9943 composite grade, ranked ninth in the nation, and naturally has every big program after his signature.
For Ohio State, his recruiting has been handled by Hartline, and given the wide receiver coach’s recent track record, that can only mean good things for the Buckeyes. The crystal ball predictor on 247sports has Washington as the leading candidate at 50 percent, but has OSU second at 25.
The young buck (and hopefully Buckeye) is being recruited as a wide receiver by OSU, but also has the potential to play defensive back. The Washington product has good size at 6-foot-1 and recorded a 4.42 40-yard dash time, and that was just in his sophomore season. He has room to grow and get faster, and that’s just scary.
He will be at the ‘Shoe to watch OSU take on Wisconsin on Oct. 26. Watching the receivers run wild against Wisconsin’s top defensive unit would no doubt bolster the program’s impression for Egbuka. The talented athlete will undoubtedly be a priority for the 2021 class that is shaping up to be an all-time best.
A graphic that OSU is using to recruit the nation’s best student-athletes has been making the rounds on Twitter recently. This particular one was sent to 2021 cornerback Tony Grimes, but I’m sure most recruits are seeing something similar, if not identical.
It’s cool little look into all that OSU can offer these young men, not just on the field, but off of it as well. Not many schools can compete with this level of attention. It says a lot when the storied history of Buckeye football is just the 12th talking point in the recruiting spectrum. Circle of Care indeed.