ESPN's Roger Brown checks in today with Boston College High running back Preston Cooper, who is still waiting for his first scholarship offer but continues to build interest.
The 5-foot-7, 170-pound scatback (think Darren Sproles) was the Catholic Conference's Most Valuable Player as a junior, as the Eagles went 6-4 after starting the season No. 4 in ESPNBoston's state-wide MIAA Top 25 poll. BC High is once against a favorite in the Catholic Conference, with Cooper a significant factor. What he lacks in size he makes up for in speed, elusiveness and pedigree -- the Cape Cod resident is cousins with San Diego Chargers linebacker Stephen Cooper.
Boston College, Penn State, UConn and UMass have all expressed interest in the incoming senior's services, but may wait until September to see that interest turn into a scholarship offer.
"They're all pretty much in the same ballpark right now," Cooper said. "They all told me, 'We'll see how you do your senior year.'
"Some schools have been talking about using me as a running back, others have said I'm an athlete -- a slot receiver, kick returner or even a defensive back."
Three FCS schools in New England -- Maine, New Hampshire and Rhode Island -- have also shown interest. Cooper's uncle, Stephen Cooper, went the FCS route (Maine) and has spent eight seasons as a linebacker with the San Diego Chargers.
Cooper said he'd be happy to play at FCS level.
"Yeah, I could definitely see myself at one of those schools," he said.
Cooper attended a Penn State camp last month, and will participate in a Massachusetts camp on July 29. He's been to a junior day at Boston College and attended a game at Connecticut last year.
BC High may have the toughest schedule among Massachusetts teams next season. In addition to playing in-state powers Brockton and Everett, BC High will face two New Jersey teams -- at DePaul Catholic on Sept. 17 and at home against St. Peter's Prep on Oct. 1.
DePaul Catholic's Davon Jacobs, a four-star athlete, committed to Rutgers earlier this month, and St. Peter's Prep quarterback Brandon Napoleon committed to West Virginia in June.
"I think those games should help me because I know there are other [Division I] prospects that will be getting looked at," Cooper said. "I feel pretty good about it. I think things will fall into place soon."
Cooper is currently ranked the No. 12 prospect in Massachusetts, and the top running back. Scouts Inc. grades him favorably, while noting some areas of improvement:
Cooper is a quick little scat-back out of Massachusetts currently falling under the radar. Short and overall has a smaller frame but is well-defined with a lower center of gravity. Quicker than fast but has some sudden strike ability. Follows blocks well and utilizes his smaller from to hide behind his linemen and slide in and out of traffic without giving defenders a clean shot. Quick lateral movements, light and agile on his feet. Runs with eyes and doesn't gear down much when cutting. Shows very good foot-quickness and loose hips redirecting and jump-cutting to elude through traffic. Reaches top speed quickly. Shows good burst to the outside but lacks an explosive extra gear needed to turn the corner and go at the next level. This guy is sudden and shifty but can also plant and get North flashing good burst out of his downhill cuts. Can quickly get into the second level, change direction sharply and reverse fields. Shows good vision and elusiveness in the open field. However, he has a shorter stride, minimal acceleration and top-end speed. Lacks ideal strength and power. Could struggle to run downhill between the tackles and may be limited to zone schemes, screens and draws in a change of pace type role. Would benefit from improving receiving skills and a growth spurt could really see Cooper's recruiting stock rise. He has a lot of natural skill-set and footwork and shows flashes of mid-major talent.