After being offered by Arizona State last week, Goodyear Millennium senior defensive lineman Anthonie Cooper checked out the Sun Devils’ game Saturday night against Michigan State.
And he liked what he saw.
“He called me about 11:30, after the game, on his way home, and he said, ‘Coach, I can play there,’ ” Millennium coach Lamar Early said. “He talked about the environment, how crazy the game was. I asked, ‘How do you feel?’ I said, ‘I feel like I belong.’ ”
That walk-off 16-13 win over Michigan State impacted Cooper so much that on Tuesday he committed to the Sun Devils to play football.
“Yeah, the atmosphere of the stadium was amazing and the fan base is so strong,” Cooper said. “I really enjoyed watching the fans get hyped after every play and that’s the environment I wanted to be in.”
In the short time of the Herm Edwards era at ASU, the in-state recruits apparently are feeling it.
Cooper, 6-foot-3, 280 pounds, becomes the fifth 2019 in-state player to commit to ASU. He joins Chandler Basha offensive lineman Roman DeWys, Tolleson wide receiver Andre Johnson, Tempe Corona del Sol wide receiver Ricky Pearsall Jr., and Scottsdale Saguaro linebacker/safety Connor Soelle.
Early believes the impact Edwards has made in his first two games as a college head coach is going to help get top in-state recruits to come to Tempe.
“It’s huge,” Early said of the Michigan State win. “They need that notoriety. ASU just put themselves on the map as a Top-25 team.”
Last year, in Todd Graham’s last season as head coach, ASU had just one in-state player sign with the Sun Devils. Two years ago, the Sun Devils landed nine in-state recruits.
Cooper has been impressive, leading the Tigers to a 3-0 start with 26 tackles (18 solo), nine for losses and 5 ½ sacks. He had nine tackles and 4 ½ sacks in the season-opening 26-21 win over Maricopa.
Early said that Cooper is versatile enough to move from noseguard to end on the defensive line.
Cooper is among the more than 35 local players who have publicly committed to play college football.
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