Jonathon Cooper More Motivated Than Ever to Finish Career with a Championship

Brendan Gulick

Perhaps no current Buckeye has had a more challenging career than Jonathon Cooper. The injuries, the uncertainty, having to choose to play in The Game last November and sitting out the College Football Playoff to keep his eligibility in tact for this season ... suffice it to say, it's been an emotional roller coaster.

Cooper is grateful to have a mentor like head coach Ryan Day fighting for him and showing him that life often has highs and lows.

"Coach Day is an amazing coach man," Cooper told the media on Friday. "Take away all the football stuff that he's done - he's an amazing football coach - but regardless of all that, he's just an amazing person. He really cares about us and keeping us safe. Him telling us stories about how you have to handle adversity has really helped. Just the other day he was telling us how life is like a roller coaster. There's lows, but it doesn't always stay low. You have to keep fighting through it, keep going through it and then eventually you'll break through and you'll go high and find something good. 

"And that's what happened with us. We were all at a very low point. We didn't know what was going on, but he kept us going through it and kept us together. We never lost faith in him."

Nobody has ever questioned how badly Cooper wants to play this season.

Cooper also said that this team is incredibly tight because of what they've gone through this year. He referenced conversations in the locker room about how to handle the quarantine, the social justice movements in our society, the uncertainty of the season. It's been a tough stretch.

But nothing was better than when he called his mom after finding out the season was reinstated.

"It was emotional," Cooper said with a big smile on his face. "It hasn't been easy. I think everybody knows my career at Ohio State hasn't been easy. Knowing that I came back and the season was going to be taken away from me wasn't easy again. But that first conversation with my mom ... we just kind of looked at each other ... it was unreal.

"The thing is though, even though I felt so happy and so blessed to have the season and everything - I know that everybody fighting for a season and that's been working for us to have a season would be for nothing if we don't take care of business and get the job done. So that just means we have to work that much harder and be prepared for everything. We have to keep practicing and go harder than ever before."

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