Jonathon Cooper Ready To Go From Good To Great For Senior Season

Ohio State Buckeyes football Jonathon Cooper Malik Harrison Michigan 2018

Jonathon Cooper came to Ohio State four years ago as a 5-star prospect from Gahanna, Ohio. He was listed by 247Sports and Rivals as the No. 2 weakside defensive end in the nation and one of the top 50 players overall.

Now a senior, Cooper has played in 33 games for the Buckeyes, starting 13 games last season. He has recorded 5.5 career sacks and 10.5 tackles for loss in his career, but is looking for much more in his final go-round.

Cooper wants — and expects — a bigger and better senior season.

“I’m very focused,” Cooper said last week. “I feel like I’m ready to take on that role and become the player that I feel like everybody expects me to be. I’m taking every day like it was my last and I’m very excited for my last year.”

He’s had enough productivity to stay on the field consistently and in the starting lineup, but maybe not as much production as many expected. Including himself.

Cooper is not disappointed in his career so far, but rather unsatisfied.

“I would characterize it as I feel like my career isn’t finished,” he said. “I’m not going to be the player that was highly-recruited, came in, and then had an okay season. I want to make sure that I fulfill my potential here at Ohio State and give it all I’ve got.”

He feels that he has improved throughout his time as a Buckeye, but is ready to “take off” this season.

“I would assess my career as a guy who came in and worked hard,” Cooper said. “ Seeing the field a couple of times, then as a first-year starter last year getting used to how starters play. Now I feel like I’m a guy who’s a veteran and has been here and needs to get the job done more.”

It has taken a while for Cooper to find his groove and really figure out who he is as a player. He believes towards the end of last season that he finally got used to the game and started playing much better.

“I finally figured out my routine of how to get ready for a game, how to prepare mentally, how to stay focused, how to make sure I have that confidence in myself to go out there and know that I can play and I can ball out,” he said.

With confidence being a big factor in his play, the pressure he puts on himself to perform better comes from himself internally. This feeling is mainly due to the fact that he is a local guy, knowing that everybody is watching him. He is aware of the expectations that people have for him to perform as a Buckeye.

“I know what everybody expects of me,” he said. “I understand the pressure on myself, just living up to that expectation. But nobody holds me to a higher standard than myself. I know what I need to get done and I know what I need to do and how I need to play. So I’m holding myself to a higher standard than anybody else is.”

The plan for his senior season is to simply get things done and take his game and role on the team to the next level.

As to what that looks like?

“More production,” he said. “More being the leader. More talking to my teammates and holding myself accountable for every single play and every single game. That’s about it. And make sure I’m a captain and a leader of this defense.”

Getting to that point, and going from good to great, requires work both on and off the field, but Cooper is ready.

“I feel like I can study the game more,” he said. “Get my football IQ higher and just know the game. Understand and make sure I know what’s going to happen on this play, or this play. Play faster and stronger and be confident. My major thing is confidence in myself and knowing that I can play at a level that I’m capable of.”

2 Responses

  1. I watched Coop perform live at the Opening a few years ago with my own eyes. Big small, long, short…….didn’t matter, he made them all look bad. If Coop and the Predator both show up in 2019 playing at that level………..fagettaboutit. They have the potential to be the best duo in the history of Buckeye football, and I remember some great matching ends over the years.Hyperbole? Maybe…………..but it’s just as a real a possibility.

  2. If you come in at 210 like a lot of smaller guys do, it shouldn’t surprise that it takes 3 years to get to 245. He had plenty of talent in front of him. Time to actually shine.

Comments are closed.