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Cooper hopes to carry the torch

It was hardly a surprise to see Warminster (Pa.) Archbishop Wood linebacker Jake Cooper commit to Penn State while on campus for a visit on Monday.

Cooper committed to Penn State on Monday.

The three-star linebacker has always held the Nittany Lions in high regard for a number of reasons.

"First and foremost, it's the student body up there. It's incredible. You just get all the love from everybody," he said. "It's a great academic school. Some kids just say that because it goes along with making a decision, but when you sit down and look at where Penn State ranks with the rest of the schools, you can really see that Penn State is a great school.

"It feels like home. Going up there, I've been up four of five times, it just gets better and it really does feel like home."

The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Cooper is excited to join one of the elite linebacker traditions in the country, something that he is well aware of.

"It's huge. The history of Penn State and Linebacker U is just crazy," he said. "You've got Greg Buttle, Shane Conlan, Lavar Arrington, Paul Posluszny, Dan Connor, Sean Lee, NaVorro Bowman, Mike Mauti, Gerald Hodges - those are all tremendous linebackers.

"Getting a chance to come in and fulfill what they left you is such a tremendous opportunity for me and I couldn't be any more proud of my decision here. I'm excited to get down there and see if I can carry the torch."

Cooper joins a class in which James Franklin has emphasized the importance of adding talent from the Keystonte State.

"I think it's tremendous. Coach Franklin is really hitting the state of Pennsylvania hard. Like he said, 'Dominate the State,' and that's exactly what he's doing," he said. "He's getting all of the top guys in Pennsylvania to really open up to Penn State. When you get a couple guys like Ryan Bates and the guys that have already committed, the recruits really open up and see that Pennsylvania kids are going to Penn State and they want to jump on board.

"It's a tremendous thing seeing what is going to happen at Penn State. We really are going to dominate the state, I can tell you that. We're going to be a top-notch program, no doubt about it."

Bates, who committed to Penn State on February 15 at Junior Day, came along for the ride on Monday. He was happy to see his teammate choose to join him for the next level.

"I'm pumped," he said. "I've been playing with him all four years of high school and to go to the same college is even better. He's a hard-worker, he earns everything that he does and he's just a great guy."

Cooper was an all-state selection as a junior, racking up 152 tackles and six sacks. He was a team captain for an Archbishop Wood squad that won a PIAA Class AAA state title in 2013.

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