Earlier this week we talked about the 'Best of the Midwest' combine in Indianapolis, an event dominated by Buckeye targets and Ohio prospects. In an event primarily featuring high school juniors, it was a sophomore from the Columbus area that stood out.
You probably haven't heard much about him yet, but you will. His name is Jonathon Cooper and he's about to blow up the recruiting world. The 6-foot-3, 215 pound defensive end from Gahanna Lincoln High School was one of only two sophomore defensive players named to the 'Best of the Midwest' All-Combine team. He was also named the top 2016 defensive lineman at the event and was a top performer at the Core 6 showcase this past Sunday in Cincinnati.
Cooper has a great first step and uses his excellent quickness to beat offensive tackles at the line of scrimmage. He already has developed good technique and a variety of moves, he also plays physically and has a great head for the game. Watching his film you can see him read his keys and attack the football - he really defends the run like a linebacker, a very unique and valuable ability for a defensive end. 247Sports called him "one of the most effective pass-rushers in attendance Monday (at the combine) and showed elite edge speed." The scary thing is, he's a high school sophomore and only going to get better.
Shortly after completing the combine on Monday, Cooper was informed that Illinois was offering him his first scholarship.
"It was amazing, I was speechless," Cooper said to 11W about receiving the scholarship. "It's a heavy burden off my shoulders."
Illinois academics stand out to Cooper, who wants to study engineering in college: "Illinois has a great engineering program, so I was very excited when they offered me." A couple of days later, Cooper also picked up an offer from Kentucky.
Cooper told 11W that he is also hearing from Ohio State, Michigan State, Northwestern, Cincinnati, and Boston College right now. But, despite getting love from a bunch of schools already Cooper says two schools stand out - Ohio State and Michigan State.
Ohio State: "because of their school programs and because I'm a fan."
Michigan State: "because they are an amazing school and football team with great programs."
You better believe that the Ohio State coaching staff has their eye on Cooper, and will do everything in their power to keep the elite local prospect in Columbus.
One thing is for sure, Jonathon Cooper is a name to remember and it won't be long before he's a household name in the recruiting world nationally.