In the days leading up to the Under Armour All-America Game, USA TODAY High School Sports will be checking in with a number of players for their accounts of the events and activities in Orlando. This entry is from Shammond Cooper, a top linebacker from Trinity Catholic (St. Louis), who remains uncommitted but plans to announce his decision during the Under Armour Game on Thursday.
As a kid I grew up watching the games, watching people pick the hats where everyone was going to go, so to feel this experience now is amazing.
Talks have been picking up and I’m down here with a couple players with the schools I’m considering. It’s been a push from a late school, Florida State (his other finalists are Illinois, Missouri, Texas and Oklahoma), so that has been interesting, too.
I kind of wasn’t sure if I was going to do the hat or not (to announce his college choice), but I’m going to stick with it. They haven’t let me know when during the game it’ll happen, but we’ll do it (during the game).
I’m looking for somewhere where I think that I have a good relationship with the coach, where I’m a good fit with the defense and where I can get some early playing time.
The player draft was cool. It was a new experience, and getting your name called out was cool to see what team I was going to play with.
Of the guys we’ve been seeing in practice, Sean Dollars really stands out because of his patience to hit the hole. As a linebacker you have to get downhill and try to get the back, and when he’s staying patient waiting for the one hole to open up, he’s going to find it and shoot through it. It just makes it really hard to stop him.
Building relationships with the other linebackers will probably stand out the most to me when this week is all over. And being here, being able to say to my kids down the road, telling them I was able to be an Under Armour All-American, that means a lot.
It’s a real fun experience. It’s supposed to be a job, but they’re very loose about the things when we’re not on the field. Some camps and experiences are really controlled. Down here is a for real fun experience.