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Shammond Cooper signs with Illinois

The four-star linebacker makes it official.

Four-star linebacker Shammond Cooper has signed with the Fighting Illini.

Cooper announced his commitment to Illinois earlier this year at the Under Armour All-American game over offers from Oklahoma and Mizzou among others. However, he was still scheduled to take a visit to Florida State, and there was some concerns of a possible flip. But it appears as if that visit never took place, with some reports saying that Cooper never went on the scheduled flight down there.

Cooper choose to stay at the school that felt the most like home to him, and a school where he will be joining fellow Trinity Catholic teammate Isaiah Williams in the class of 2019 and his former high school coach, Cory Patterson.

Cooper is a four-star according to the 247Sports’ composite (though he is only a three-star from 247’s own rankings), ranked in the top 300 players in the country and as the 17th best linebacker. He is the highest ranked linebacker the Illini have signed since Martez Wilson.

When Illinois hired Cory Patterson, everyone's eyes turned towards the great Trinity Catholic recruits. The 2019’s had Cooper and Williams, but also Ira Henry and Marcus Washington. Henry and Washington would have been great adds in positions of need, but you can’t get everyone, not even with their former high school coach.

But, the two that I wanted the most — including my white whale of recruiting — and the two highest-ranked Trinity Catholic players are now both Illini and set to be key figures on both sides of the ball for years to come.

Cooper has sideline to sideline speed and potential to be a good play-making linebacker. He is listed at just under 200 pounds right now — 6-foot-2, 195 — and will need to add weight for the Big Ten, but he has all the looks to be a day one contributor to the defense.

We’ve got him. Illinois signed Shammond Cooper. The one player who I had the biggest eyes for is going to be an Illini. Fantastic work by Cory Patterson and the rest of the recruiting staff and to Lovie Smith for making the Patterson hire in the first place, which was seen with a lot of skepticism.

The 2020 class for Trinity Catholic is also loaded with stars. Four-star RB Mookie Cooper, four-star WR James Frenchie, four-star RB Reggie Love, and three-star OL Jalen St. John. Come on Patterson. Let’s get it.

The last letter of intent expected in today for Illinois is from linebacker Tarique Barnes. Stay tuned to the Champaign Room for updates.