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Why WR Corey Cooper’s Time at Prep School Could Be Best Thing for SU

Interesting piece today by Michael Cohen in the Post-Standard about Syracuse signee Corey Cooper. The dynamic wide receiver was one of the jewels of Scott Shafer’s first recruiting class. But he was deemed academically ineligible. To bridge the time between high school and enrolling again at SU, Cooper is living a structured life style at prep school.

“He’s got a 10 p.m. curfew every single night of the week,” Jireh Prep head coach Scott Smith said. “It’s really structured. We watch over the kids 24/7. The coaches live with the kids there in the complex.”

Those parameters, non-negotiable and restrictive as they seem, are the guidelines within which Cooper will live during his semester-long stint at Jireh Prep in North Carolina.

This can only be a good thing for Corey, going through the transition post-high school, but also using his time to focus on his studies, school work, and preparation on the field.

Syracuse offensive coordinator George McDonald, who recruited Cooper prior to taking the job at SU and helped flip him from Louisville to the Orange, visited Jireh to ensure it was the right fit.

Smith said McDonald loved the environment. It was a done deal.

It’s good to see McDonald taking interest in specifically what’s going on with his signees. This is where GMcD connects with his players, and what makes him such a valuable and successful recruiter. He proves that he’s more than just saying the right things. He’s actively trying to look after all his guys, even if it means a stop to a prep school in North Carolina to make sure it’s the right environment for a player who’s ineligible.

“He loved the school down here, loved the atmosphere down here,” Smith said. “It’s a great environment for kids. He just felt like Corey would really thrive here academically.”

In terms of football, Cooper will be one of many wide receivers that Smith and his staff work into their spread offense. He envisions Cooper to be a perfect fit at one of their slot positions — not quite big enough to play on the outside but faster than all of his taller receivers.

It also can’t be a bad thing for Cooper to get some reps in a competitive environment on the field. With AJ Long coming in to SU in ’14, a year at prep school might end up being a blessing in disguise for the Orange offense. If Cooper can qualify academically for Syracuse next fall, the two will end up enrolling at SU together and may end up being the cornerstones of an offense for years to come.

Posted: D.A.

The Fizz is owned, edited and operated by Damon Amendolara. D.A. is an ’01 Syracuse graduate from the Newhouse School with a degree in Broadcast Journalism.


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