Notre Dame has made the top five for Arlington (Texas) Martin defensive end Ernest "RJ" Cooper. The 6-5, 235-pound end named the Irish among his finalists along with Stanford, Texas A&M, Oregon and Ohio State.
Cooper has an interesting rankings profile. Rivals ranks him as a three-star recruit and the No. 35 strongside end in the country. They rank Cooper as the nation's No. 63 player in the state of Texas. 247Sports ranks him as a four-star, but he's not among their Top 250 players and he ranks as the No. 15 strongside end and the No. 37 player in the state of Texas. ESPN, however, ranks Cooper as the No. 23 player in the entire country, the No. 3 defensive end and the No. 7 player in the state.
A power end, Cooper has the kind of big frame to potentially outgrow the position, which could eventually lead to him either being more of a 5-technique in a three-down look or a three-technique in a four-down look. From a frame and game standpoint he reminds me of former Notre Dame standout Kapron Lewis-Moore, another Texas high school end that outgrew the edge and played more as an interior player in college.
Cooper had offers from Alabama, LSU, Texas, USC, Florida State, Penn State, Nebraska, Ole Miss, Oklahoma State, Baylor, TCU, Texas Tech, Arizona State, Colorado, Georgia Tech, Arizona, Vanderbilt and SMU.
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