MYRTLE BEACH | When South Carolina and Dominique Cooper decided to part ways last month, it didn’t leave any ill will on his end.
Cooper is a 6-foot-1, 195-pound tailback and safety from Darlington. He is playing in the secondary at this weekend’s North-South All-Star game, though he wants to play running back in college.
The Gamecocks had offered Cooper as a defensive back, and when that offer sat on the table for several months, they pulled it and moved on. However, he understood their position.
“I think it worked out for both of us,” Cooper said earlier this week. “I felt like I play harder at running back. I’m not exactly sure where I’m going to go yet, but I’m pretty sure on the next level I’m going to play running back.
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“I wanted to go to South Carolina, but I want to play running back even more.”
Cooper has offers from East Carolina, S.C. State and N.C. Central. All three of them have offered him as a tailback.
The right fit?
The Class of 2011 has produced a number of decorated college-bound quarterbacks from the state of South Carolina. Shrine Bowlers Justin Worley of Northwestern (Tennessee commitment) and Everett Golson of Myrtle Beach (Notre Dame commitment) and Chester’s Tony McNeal (Clemson commitment) are considered the cream of the crop.
Woodland’s Robert Smith is the forgotten man.
The 6-foot, 205-pounder, who is playing in the North-South All-Star game, threw for nearly 10,000 yards and 90 touchdowns and ran for more than 4,000 yards and 40 touchdowns.
“I think my career went great,” Smith said. “I did everything I wanted except win a state championship. Every year I put up over 2,000 yards. I was always the leading rusher on my team. A lot of people go by the height, but I think I’m just as good as a quarterback as anybody in the state.”
Though he’s bigger than Golson, Smith wasn’t recruited as a quarterback by many BCS-level schools. He committed to Clemson earlier this year. He’s projected to play receiver or safety when he gets there, though there is a chance he could still take some snaps.
“When I get to Clemson I still might get a chance,” said Smith, who is playing outside linebacker this week. “Something might happen to one of the quarterbacks.
“Clemson was straight up with me. They said they thought I had a better chance at another position than quarterback. I felt like they were being honest with me instead of sugarcoating it, getting there and then they switch me.”
Smith was drawing interest from Georgia Tech and Appalachian State as a quarterback when he committed.