Cooper passes on ‘Bama offer
Published 4:51 am Monday, January 29, 2007
By BY BRUCE HIXON – SPORTS EDITOR
Making his original choice was tough. Sticking with that choice was just as tough.
The end result for W.S. Neal Blue Eagles offensive lineman Jared Cooper was the same. He is sticking with Auburn University.
New Alabama Crimson Tide football coach Nick Saban tried to persuade Cooper to back out of his verbal commitment with Auburn when he offered Cooper a full-ride scholarship during a visit to Brewton Jan. 12.
Alabama's full-ride offer at that time was better than the offer Auburn had on the table, which was a grayshirt scholarship. A grayshirt is like a waiting list where potential recruits have to wait a certain length of time in order for their scholarship to kick in unless other scholarship-offered players ahead of them back out of their original commitment or do not meet academic eligibility requirements. Cooper's original scholarship with Auburn was not scheduled to start until the 2008 spring semester.
Auburn made a counteroffer to Cooper after Saban's visit and upped its offer to immediate full-ride status, which means his scholarship will be in place when he starts classes at the school.
While Cooper did not go as far to say he would have switched to Alabama had Auburn not increased its offer, he did say it was a huge temptation to make the switch.
Cooper said he appreciated the interest Saban and his staff expressed.
Cooper indicated he has had little verbal contact with other schools outside of Alabama after he made the verbal commitment to Auburn.
Cooper's stock was already high when he made the verbal commitment last summer. He was an All-State First Team selection as a junior, was selected to play in the Juniors North-South State All-Star Game and was named to the Birmingham News Preseason
Top 12 Players in the State.
Since then Cooper went on to win the Class 4A Lineman of the Year Award, repeat his First Team All-State status and was named to the Birmingham News Super All-State Team that includes players from all classes.
The national signing period begins Feb. 7.