New in '16: Cooper bringing attitude, athleticism to Tech line

Georgia Tech freshman Kenny Cooper is honest enough about himself to say that his senior wrestling season at Sonoraville High did not meet expectations.

"I did terrible," said Cooper, a candidate for a position on the interior offensive line.

He was likewise willing to acknowledge his immediate concern about Tech’s summer workout schedule.

“Everything else isn’t going to be easy, but I’m not used to waking up at 5:30 a.m.,” he said.

His candor about his shortcomings lends more credence to his assessment of his playing style.

“I don’t stop till the whistle,” he said. “I got to the end of the whistle, 100 percent, the whole play.”

Cooper, a two-player at Sonoraville (in Calhoun) was something of a lightly regarded recruit. He had been committed to Western Kentucky when he took Tech’s offer in December.

But Tech obviously liked what it saw. Cooper, 6-foot-3 and 307 pounds, is agile enough to have played H-back for Sonoraville. He was also a state finalist in wrestling in the heavyweight class as a junior in his first season in the sport.

“He’s a tough guy, he’s a mean guy,” said linebackers coach Andy McCollum, who recruited Cooper.

Cooper is likely to redshirt, given that nearly all offensive linemen sit out their first seasons on campus. Cooper said he probably needs to work on his explosiveness and leverage. His wrestling background and success – at least as a junior – as well as his quickness give some indication that he has the physical tools to plug into Tech’s style.

“He’s athletic and he’s tough,” McCollum said.

And he’s evidently willing to work on his weaknesses.

Prior to beginning summer classes at Tech, Cooper had been trying to wake up at 5:30 to get acclimated.

“He fits Georgia Tech, and I believe he’ll be a great player,” McCollum said.