There are a ton of talented players still left for the Illinois football team to bring into the mix for the class of 2021.
The Illini coaching staff has built relationships with various players across the country. They are targeting versatile players who have played multiple roles on their high school team. One of the big names Illinois is targeting is Keith Cooper Jr.
Cooper is a 6-foot-4, 230-pound outside linebacker from Dickinson High School and resides in Dickinson, Texas. He is rated as a three-star recruit who is the No. 882 player in the class of 2021 and the No. 60 outside linebacker in the nation. He is also the No. 131 player in the state of Texas.
The name Cooper has been on the recruiting radar for a while with the Illini. I remember when we offered him a scholarship back in October 2019. Since then, Cooper attended the big comeback victory over Michigan State and has received love from the Orange and Blue over the last eight months.
The Writing Illini had a chance to chat with Cooper about where he was with his recruitment and if the connection is still strong with Illinois.
“Yes, they say I am a high priority for them. They are definitely up there.”
Illinois is clearly making a strong push for Cooper. This is a good move by the Illini considering how bad this program will need the star defensive player in the future.
While recruiting sites like 247Sports have Cooper listed as an outside linebacker, he let the Writing Illini know that Illinois is actually recruiting him as a defensive end. The versatility at the high school level enables Cooper to move around positions when he enters college. Will some of his linebacker skills help him at defensive end, though?
“I play outside linebacker, so it is technically the same thing. So, I will be fine.”
Cooper would come into the Illini program and help the team immediately. While Illinois is making him a priority and they are up there in his recruitment, the Orange and Blue still have to fend off other big-time programs. Cooper let us in on what other programs are standing out right now.
“Arizona State, Arizona, Kansas State, Boston College and TCU.”
That is a tough list for the Illini to compete against. There are some big hitters in there, but we should have a strong chance to bring this kid into the class of 2021. Sadly, Illinois has not had a chance to have Cooper in for an official visit due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
But the pandemic hasn’t stopped teams, including the Illini, from recruiting Cooper. There will be a decision to make for the young defensive end. That decision isn’t coming anytime soon, though.
“After the season.”
There is still a long way to go to land Cooper. While Illinois needs him, so do a plethora of other programs. I am glad to hear we are still making him a priority, though. It would be nice to have the law firm of Cooper & Cooper on the Illini defensive in 2021.