National exposure for Illinois Football? Yes please.
The Trinity Catholic pipeline continues to pay off, as the Illini added four-star linebacker Shammond Cooper to the 2019 class today. Cooper announced his decision at the Under Armour All-American Game on Thursday on national television on ESPN2.
A four-star linebacker from St. Louis, Cooper joins Isaiah Williams from Trinity Catholic to Champaign — all part of the plan when Illinois brought on former TCHS head coach Cory Patterson as its tight ends coach in early 2018.
According to 247, Cooper is the 10th-best inside linebacker and fourth-best prospect in Missouri in the 2019 class. As a result, his offer list was stout, with blue bloods like Auburn, Clemson, Texas and Oklahoma — Illinois’ biggest competition in the commitment.
Except when Cooper tweeted about his visit to Norman, Williams chimed in on Twitter.
Orange and blue look better on you https://t.co/TjGMkwXWX1— Isaiah Williams (@i_williams11) July 29, 2018
Cooper is 6-foot-2 and 195 pounds. He had an unofficial visit in Champaign in early April 2018 and an official visit in mid-June.
He is the third top-250 commit for Illinois in its 2019 class, joining Williams and Marquez Beason.
It seems not too long ago that many factions of Illinois fans questioned the decision to hire Cory Patterson, head coach of Trinity Catholic, over some other potential hires due to his inexperience, especially if he was going to be the tight ends coach.
Well, that talk has definitely subsided.
After he pulled in his second Trinity Catholic player in a month with the commitment of wide receiver Bryce Childress on Thursday (who later de-committed), Patterson has Illinois competing with the best of the best for talent in the St. Louis area.
This was always the thinking with the hire. Get Patterson, and you could conceivably sway a large contingency of his former players at Trinity Catholic, a school and a program built from the ground up by Patterson and his elite coterie of footballers.
So far, so good.
Cooper likely slots into a potential starting role with the Illini in 2019 alongside transfer Milo Eifler.
And there’s already a ton of excitement about Cooper’s commitment.
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