ST. LOUIS – The Missouri Bootheel is the most overlooked place for talent in all of the Show-Me State. But with up-coming prospects like William Cooper and Craig Robinson of Hayti, Mo., the Heel could become regular stops on the recruiting trail once again.
Cooper was one of the most impressive looking prospects physically at Missouri's one-day camp in St. Louis on Sunday. The 6-foot-5, 235-pounder junior-to-be admits he is still raw, but he's eager to learn more.
"Last year was the first year that I played football, so this is all new to me," said Cooper, who has a strong, lean frame that could easily add anywhere from 30 to 50 pounds in college. "I was a baseball guy before this. I played third base. I decided to give football a try and it's worked out the best for me. I'm still learning a lot, but people say I have the ability to be pretty good by the time I'm a senior."
With a physique like that, he'll definitely get some looks because he more than passes the eyeball test. He also knows since he's going into his junior season he has plenty of time to get better.
"I'm still a work in progress," he said. "I'm came to a camp like this to learn more and to get better. I hope coaches like me, but I'm more here to improve my game and see how much better I can get."
Cooper said he's still in the early stages of getting information from schools, but he said he wouldn't mind hearing from regional schools like Arkansas, Illinois, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. Cooper definitely will be a name to remember in 2008, even if he's not on the map quite yet.
The other elite offering at Hayti is Robinson, a sophomore-to-be. He's a 6-foot-1, 278-pound defensive tackle that admits he's eager to see what his future holds.
"Camps like these are exciting because you can see where you stack up," he said. "I like testing myself. I know I have the talent to be a good recruit, but I still have plenty of time for that."
And when the time comes, count on Hayti to get plenty of looks from the college coaches.