W.S. Neal offensive lineman Jared Cooper applies a block in last winter's North-South All-Star game. Cooper turned down nine Division I offers last week when he gave a verbal commitment to Auburn. Daniel Hodge | The Brewton Standard

Published 9:39 am Monday, August 21, 2006

By BY BRUCE HIXON – sports editor
It was only late last month W.S. Neal Blue Eagles senior left tackle Jared Cooper said he planned on waiting until after the season to decide his college future.
Cooper said at that time the big reason for waiting was to see what other offers would arrive. Since that time Cooper got the offer he wanted and that offer will take him to Auburn University.
The 6-4, 290-pound Cooper turned down additional Division I offers from Duke, Troy, Louisville, Memphis, Houston, Alabama-Birmingham, Southern Mississippi, Marshall and Army.
Cooper's stock has risen quickly since last season ended. He was selected to play in the North-South All-Star game for juniors last December and was tabbed Class 3A Academic All-State for the 2005-06 school year. This summer he was tabbed for the Birmingham News Preseason Top 12 Players in the State. The Mobile Register gave Cooper Best of the Rest status for its preseason team, which placed him among its top 30 players.
Cooper said the selection process had gotten old.
Auburn is one season removed from an undefeated 2005 campaign that saw the Tigers go 13-0 albeit Auburn was denied a spot in the national championship game. Auburn went 9-3 last season and ended its campaign with a loss to Wisconsin in the Capital One Bowl.
Cooper indicated Auburn is leaning to switching him from his current tackle spot to either guard or center.
Cooper already has one connection to Auburn. His mother, Sue Cooper, works for Auburn's extension office.
Cooper will have to wait until college football's national signing date in February to make his decision official. College football coaches are not allowed to comment about a player until he has signed a letter of intent.

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