Varsity Preps

Across the Deep South, I


2014 OLB Deshon Cooper (6’4, 205, 4.69) of Columbia High in Decatur has offers from Kentucky, Vanderbilt, Louisville, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana-MonroeRutgers, Georgia St., and Old Dominion.

He recently visited the Tennessee Volunteers. “I enjoyed my visit. The facilities are nice, the tempo of practice was good.”

Auburn and South Carolina will receive summer camp visits and he’ll travel to see Louisville for a Junior Day very soon. “I’m anxious to see Louisville. When I watched the Sugar Bowl, they really impressed me.”

Last season, Cooper registered 62 tackles, five sacks, six forced fumbles, four fumble recoveries, one PBU and one safety. He also sees time at wideout, where he had 123 yards receiving and two touchdowns.

Cooper said Columbia High has a chance to have a special season. “We’ve been working extremely hard and we’re determined to go all the way this season. I feel like we’ve come together this offseason and bonded as a team.”

He’s seeking a family atmosphere where he has the chance to earn early playing time. “I’d like to contribute right away and I’d prefer to play college football in the Deep South.”

Columbia’s talented junior is planning on graduating in December to be eligible to compete in spring practice next year.


2014 OLB Jacob Rios (6’2, 215, 4.76) of Tampa Catholic recently visited Florida Atlantic. “I arrived early and got to sit in on the defensive, special teams, and linebacker meetings. I really enjoyed that and I like how the FAU staff is running things. It’s a school I could definitely see myself attending for four years.”

FAU will scout Rios next month at spring practice and will decide on an offer after seeing him up close. “I’d really like an offer from them. My visit really has me excited about FAU.”

Alabama St., UMass, and Purdue have expressed interest in Tampa Catholic’s linebacker. Rios told Varsity Preps he has interest in Cincinnati and South Florida.

This summer, he’ll attend the FAU Linebacker School and will camp at UNC Charlotte.

Rios spoke about what will be important in his recruitment. “I’m looking for the best opportunity for me and a family atmosphere,” he said. “I’d like to play on the East Coast preferably.”

He’d like to have a decision in place before the season starts.


2016 OL Casen Sloan (6’2, 280) of Battle Ground Academy in Tennessee is a big guard that’s already receiving mail from Princeton. “They want me to camp and become more familiar with their program.”

BGA’s young lineman has a busy summer ahead. “I’ll be attending a FBU camp and the Blue Chip Academy camp,” he said. “I also want to camp at Vanderbilt and Tennessee.

“I’m interested in Tennessee and I like Vanderbilt,” Sloan said. “Vandy is close to home and I like James Franklin. He’s really doing a great job with that program and has raised their profile in Nashville.”

Sloan is concentrating on elevating his overall game. “I feel I’m a good pass blocker and this offseason, I’ve been working on getting stronger and improving my run blocking.”

Education will be the most important factor in his college choice. School location and playing early won’t be as important to him, but a program’s recent success will have an impact on his decision.


2014 ATH/QB William Smith (6’1, 185, 4.5) of Granby High in Norfolk, Virginia is an athletic playmaker that’s hearing from UNC Charlotte, Temple, Tennessee, Virginia Tech, and Hampton among others.

He shared some details with Varsity Preps about conversations he’s had with college coaches recently. “Temple, I talk to them a lot and they say they want me at DB.

“I just started talking with Tennessee and they want me at corner, too.”

Smith visited Virginia Tech for a Junior Day last weekend. “I got to see the program up close and I like the players that go through there.”

Granby’s versatile athlete will camp at UNC Charlotte, Tennessee, Temple, Virginia, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, and Elon this summer.

Williams will choose a school with an international relations/business program. “I have a 3.1 GPA and a school having that major will go a long way with me.”

He lists no favorites currently. “I’m still wide open, but I really do like UNC Charlotte at the moment.”

Williams said he’d like to end the recruiting process by the end of summer.

— Michael Bradley

Photo courtesy of 247Sports



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