BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Lawrence North wide receiver Omar Cooper is ready to make his college choice on Wednesday, and it's down to Indiana and West Virginia for the talented four-star pass catcher.
Cooper, the favorite target of current Indiana freshman Donaven McCulley while at Lawrence North, will make his announcement on Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET.
Indiana has been the leader in the clubhouse for Cooper's services for a while now, and a lot of it has to do with relationships, both present and future.
Indiana's coaches, especially head coach Tom Allen and wide receivers coach Grant Heard, have developed a great rapport with the Indianapolis native, but those relationships that might matter more have been established at Lawrence North for years.
Cooper's quarterback at Lawrence North has been Donaven McCulley, and he's already at Indiana. He was a four-star recruit and the No. 4-ranked dual threat QB in the country on one recruiting service.
They played basketball together, too, and made it all the way to the Class 4A state championship game last year. Cooper's friend C.J. Gunn was on that team as well, and he's already committed to play basketball at Indiana, too. That's a lot of family-like ties.
But this is nowhere near a done deal. West Virginia has been after Cooper hard, and he took an official visit there in mid-June. And they've been putting on the full-court press ever since, especially offensive coordinator and wide receivers coach Gerad Parker.
"It was amazing. It's an amazing environment and great people, especially the coaching staff," Cooper told Mountaineer Maven, our sister site in West Virginia. "I hung out with Coach Parker the most. We have a really good relationship and I'm getting closer and closer with him and the rest of the staff."
Cooper, who is 6-foot-1 and 170 pounds, is the top-ranked receiver in the state of Indiana, and the Hoosiers have been all over his recruiting for a couple of years now. He's ranked the No. 5 prospect in the state – Indiana already has the No. 1 player, Dasan McCullough of Bloomington South – and his commitment would be the 10th this year for the Hoosiers' coaching staff.
Indiana's average recruit ranking has them fifth in the Big Ten, and 21st nationally. Those figures will go up with a Cooper commitment on Wednesday.
Aside from Indiana and West Virginia, Cooper also holds offers from Arkansas, Boston College, Cincinnati, Illinois, Iowa, Michigan State, Missouri, Purdue, Virginia Tech, Wisconsin, and several others.
Cooper had surgery on Dec. 18 to repair a torn ACL and has been rehabilitating his knee with an eye toward being 100 percent for the start of fall football practice.
Cooper has had back-to-back 1,000-yard receiving seasons. He caught 38 passes for 1,101 yards and 13 touchdowns last year, and he and McCulley helped lead the Wildcats to their first winning season in 15 years.
“With IU, the position coaches hit me up consistently but also the head coach, Tom Allen. He hits me up consistently, too,'' Cooper told the Indianapolis Star in April. “If it is IU, that would be perfect because I already know (McCulley) and have a connection.
"He is always in my ear telling me that IU is the move and I should go to IU and asking when I’m going to commit. Every time we talk, he’s always saying that stuff to me.”
Indiana and West Virginia have butted heads on the recruiting trail often lately, with the most recent being over Florida cornerback Jacolby Spells last weekend. West Virginia won that one, but it will be interesting to see if that home-field advantage helps the Hoosiers this time around.
Losing out on Spells didn't hurt nearly as bad because the Hoosiers landed another cornerback on the same day, James Monds III from Vero Beach, Fla.
Indiana 2022 commitments thus far
- JAMES MONDS III: Indiana was thrilled to get a commitment from Vero Beach, Fla., cornerback James Monds III, who has great cover skills and could be a huge threat in the return game for the Hoosiers. CLICK HERE
- RYAN MILLER: Ryan Miller, a standout pass-catching tight end from the Cleveland area, has committed to Indiana. CLICK HERE
- CARTER SMITH: Ohio offensive tackle Carter Smith is the seventh commitment in Indiana's 2022 recruiting class. CLICK HERE
- JOSH HOOVER: Indiana got its first offensive commitment in the class of 2022 on Tuesday night when Rockwall-Heath (Texas) quarterback Joshn Hoover committed to the Hoosiers. CLICK HERE
- ISAIAH JONES: Linebacker Isaiah Jones of London, Ohio committed to Indiana on Sunday. Jones is 6-foot-2 and 215 pounds, and received substantial interest from Minnesota, Cincinnati, Duke, Wake Forest and several MAC schools. CLICK HERE
- TREVELL MULLEN: Four-star Florida cornerback Trevell Mullen, the younger brother of Indiana All-American cornerback Tiawan Mullen, committed to Indiana on Sunday after his official visit to Bloomington. CLICK HERE
- DASAN McCULLOUGH: Four-star athlete Dasan McCullough, one of the top players in the Class of 2022, has de-committed from Ohio State and will join Indiana instead. His father is Indiana running backs coach Deland McCullough. CLICK HERE
- KAIDEN TURNER: Arkansas linebacker Kaiden Turner loves what Indiana's linebackers do, and he's thrilled to commit to the Hoosiers and join that outastanding group. CLICK HERE
- RICHARD THOMAS: South Florida defensive end Richard Thomas has committed to Indiana, keeping the Florida-to-Bloomington pipeline alive for Tom Allen and his Hoosiers. CLICK HERE