Jake Cooper (Warminster, Pa./Archbishop Wood) can still remember those cool Saturday afternoons, sitting on his father's lap and stuffing small fistfuls of chips into his mouth.
The Class of 2015 linebacker, only 6 years old back when he and his father shared a recliner, would stare at the giant football players on TV and listen to his father. "You need to watch this guy," the elder Cooper would tell him, pointing to a Penn State linebacker.
Every Saturday, they'd watch the Nittany Lions. And, with each passing weekend, Cooper became more and more of a PSU fan. There was his neighbor, a PSU kicker in the 1970s whose grilled hot dogs and burgers became a neighborhood staple. Then there was the local standout, Dan Connor, who played for PSU. And, of course, he couldn't forget the time one of his father's friends took him inside the stadium on media day to meet players.
The small kid who sipped sodas while his father opted for other beverages on those Saturdays is a different person now. He's grown to 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds -- but that doesn't mean everything's changed. When asked if PSU remains his top school, he just laughed.