The competition for Darian Cooper’s signature went toe-to-toe between Iowa and Michigan State.
It came down to signing day before Cooper greenlighted for the Hawkeyes, thus following the paths of DeMatha alumnus Marcus Coker and fellow Iowa signee Jordan Lomax.
Illinois might not have been the first Big Ten school to tap into the Washington D.C. area, but the names Vontae Davis and Arrelious Benn right out.
Iowa seems to have found a line into the area, with Coker breaking the ice last season and now Cooper, Lomax and Nico Law, a defensive back from Clinton, Md.
You know why this is good? DeMatha had 14 FBS signees itself this season, including O-line gem Cyrus Kouandjio, who ended up with Alabama.
Link — If the rhabdo thing would’ve played with an Iowa recruit this season, it would’ve been Cooper, whose visit came on or around the time that news broke. In this link, you see it didn’t play. “It was an arduous workout. Maybe some guys were laying around and weren’t ready for how intense the workout was. I wish everybody well in their recovery. Go Hawks.”
Three most interesting bio items — 1) Holds school single-game sacks record with five. 2) Metro defensive MVP in Baltimore area as a senior. 3) Ten sacks as a senior.
Ferentz on — Kirk Ferentz talked a little bit about Iowa’s image in metro areas.
“Our biggest challenge I think in recruiting, two things, is perception,” he said. “This is — some people try to portray this to be like ‘Green Acres’ and the second part would be distance. It’s hard.”
“Green Acres,” wow. No love for “Petticoat Junction”?
On inroads into DeMatha:
“[DeMatha coach] Bill McGregor is a veteran coach, very respected coach, and has done a phenomenal job there for a long, long time,” Ferentz said. “And really it’s a new area for us, relatively, and certainly last year getting Marcus out of there, we were just ecstatic about that.
And this semester, we are even more ectatic; just an outstanding young guy, great student and he has the potential to be a really good football player for us. And again as I just said, I think when a player has experience and good experience, a positive experience, not only in football but in all areas, I think he believes in ourprogram and believes in the university and likes living here.
“So, when prospects come out from your neighborhood or area or school, it’s a good thing and certainly that helped us, I think, with both Jordan and Darian.”
Linebackers coach Darrell Wilson gets the credit for getting Iowa into the D.C. area.
“Darrell Wilson has a really good job nurturing that relationship with them,” recruiting coordinator Eric Johnson said. ”It started out Gilman last year with Jim Poggi and Ferguson and it’s continued with DeMatha and getting Coker out of there. It just keeps building now. That was a strong tie to begin with and then to get Nico Law to jump on board. He really did an excellent job of helping us recruit those Maryland guys, keeping us in the loop and helping out with Cooper and helping out with Lomax. And getting Quinton Alston to jump on board. He helped that way, too. They really developed a relationship a couple weeks ago. A bunch of those kids came in together and really became close.
“Once you can get in and get some ties in those areas, it helps kids feel comfortable leaving and going somewhere they know people.”
Johnson called Cooper a surprise. A player they needed and didn’t know if they’d get.
“I think Darian Cooper was a guy we needed and we were hoping we were going to get,” Johnson said. “We put every bit of effort into getting him and it was great last night when we found out we were getting him. Alright, it’s done.”
Projection is fun — Cooper is 6-foot-1 to 6-2. He’s listed from 280 to 285.
He’s a defensive tackle.
Next question, can he make the lineup in ’11? Maybe. Right now, Mike Daniels is a lock at tackle. Junior Steve Bigach and redshirt freshman Carl Davis have a shot to figure. After that, well, those are the posts that will come after this series.
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