Linebacker Cedrick Cooper decided to football at South Carolina after all.
Cooper faxed his letter of intent to the university Wednesday morning, well before his 2 p.m. press conference to announce his decision. The 6-foot-1-inch, 210 pound linebacker chose the Gamecocks over Arkansas and Ole Miss.
The Lithonia, Ga., standout is ranked as high as No. 44 in the country among outside linebackers.
“It was a lot of pressure, but at the end I had to be real objective,” said Cooper about how he ultimately decided upon South Carolina. “I based my decision on academics and the fastest way to play, and they have a really good defense and great coaches. It took time and dedication and I really talked it out with my mom and my coaches. It was a hard process, but in the end I think I made the right choice.”
The announcement ends a very busy recruitment period for Cooper, who after a Jan. 28 visit to Arkansas had a short flirtation with the Razorbacks. He quickly changed his mind and removed his name from consideration and remained undecided until Wednesday.
“I didn't commit,” Cooper said. “However, it was really hard to let go of them. But I wanted to be closer to home and have a better chance to play immediately. I feel that South Carolina has my best interests at heart and they have a better academic plan.”
Cooper will join the linebacker corps at South Carolina and hopes to play in his freshman year, which was a major factor that player into his choice to become a Gamecock.
“I’d like to play and not redshirt,” said Cooper, “but I’m going to have to get to practice and prove what I can do.”
Another drawing factor for Cooper in choosing South Carolina was the relative youth on the team. With a solid recruiting class mixed in with the young Gamecock program, Cooper hopes that he’ll have the opportunity to help lead South Carolina to SEC championships in the near future.
“A few of the players played in the area with me or against me,” said Cooper, “and I feel we'll have a great junior and senior season.”