When Greg Schiano took the head coaching job with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, one of his first decisions was to hire Ron Cooper, former LSU defensive backs coach, to his staff. That decision had a ripple effect that brought Cooper's son, Tristan Cooper, to Tampa (Fla.) Plant. The rising senior wide receiver says it has been an adjustment from his time at Baton Rouge (La.) University Laboratory School.
"I've been there about a month," Cooper said of Plant. "It has been a pretty tough adjustment. Everybody said that there is a lot of speed in Florida, a lot of fast athletes. Playing defense here is a lot different than in Louisiana, even though both are really good football states. I have had to learn a new system on offense and a different type of defense, so it has been tough, but I think by the time the season rolls around I will have made the transition pretty well.
"It is a great program," Cooper added. "The stuff they have accomplished in the last five or six years is crazy. A lot of people dream about winning one state championship, but this is a program that puts you in position to compete for a state championship every year. It is great to be around Coach (Robert) Weiner and everybody else in this program."
For Plant, Cooper will likely contribute on both sides of the ball. His future in college may also involve him contributing on either side.
"I could play on either side of the ball," Cooper said. "I am not really sure where I will play in college. I have been hearing both. I am open to playing either one. I do like offense a little bit better but I have always been open towards playing on either side."
Since arriving at Plant, Cooper has added his first BCS offer.
"Iowa State was my most recent offer," Cooper said. "I spoke with Coach (Shane) Burnham. He actually came to our practice on Friday and he said he liked what he saw when he was there. He spoke with my Dad during the scrimmage and he told him and Coach Weiner that he wanted me and would take me right now. It felt good getting that first BCS offer."
In addition to his offer from Iowa State, Cooper also claims offers from Columbia, Harvard, and Southern. He said other schools such as Indiana, Michigan, Missouri, Ole Miss, and West Virginia have also expressed a lot of interest.
He does not have a specific timeline for making a decision nor claim a leader at this stage of the process.