Medina football star Cooper verbally commits to Toledo - The Buffalo News
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Medina football star Cooper verbally commits to Toledo

Medina High School's Jalin Cooper, one of the most coveted football prospects in Western New York, announced Wednesday that he's taking his athletic talents to The University of Toledo.

The senior-to-be and three-sport star made the verbal commitment to the Mid-American Conference school after receiving 11 Division I offers – including one from the Rockets' conference rival University at Buffalo and programs from the Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-12 and American Athletic Conference. Last week, Cooper announced he narrowed his suitors' list to Toledo, UB, Rutgers, Connecticut and Washington State.

Cooper, a second team All-Western New York selection at the utility position who visited Washington State last weekend, trimmed it to one shortly before dinner.

"Just the chemistry I had with the (Toledo) coaches and I honestly felt that was the best fit for me," said Cooper, who visited the school three times and also attended a football camp there. "It's the perfect distance (from home). It's the perfect everything. It's an easy route to get to, too, (from Medina)."

The speedy 6-foot-4, 180-pound Cooper is being recruited as a wide receiver but has also played some running back and linebacker with the Mustangs. He helped them win Class B East last season – the program's first outright division title since 1988 – by amassing a team-leading 16 touchdowns and 1,213 all-purpose yards. He rushed for 403 yards and seven scores and had 339 yards and six TDs as a receiver.

A multi-time Section VI track champion in the 100- and 200-meter dashes, Cooper also earned fourth team All-Western New York in basketball after helping Medina win its second straight Niagara-Orleans League title and reach the Section VI Class B-2 semifinals. They lost in that round at Buffalo State Sports Arena to eventual state final four participant Health Sciences.

But football is where Cooper has garnered the most attention. He also received an offer from Boston College, which signed 2016 News Player of the Year Isaiah McDuffie and first team All-Western New York lineman and Trench Trophy winner Nate Emer of Iroquois. Cooper attended eight camps the past two years, including top ones sponsored by Nike and Under Armour during the spring.

Cooper felt most comfortable with his interactions with Toledo and its coaching staff. Jason Candle is head coach of the Rockets, which went 9-4 last season.

Cooper can't officially sign his letter of intent until Feb. 7, 2018.

"I'm loyal," Cooper said. "There's a 99.9 percent chance I won't change my mind."

Cooper, who plans to major in social work, is thrilled he made the decision prior to the start of his final year of high school.

"It was kind of stressful with all these schools contacting me but it was a good stress," Cooper said. "It's good feeling wanted."

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