Paul Johnson has praise for center Kenny Cooper

Georgia Tech center Kenny Cooper.

Georgia Tech center Kenny Cooper was paid a high compliment by his coach after Wednesday’s practice.

“He may be the best offensive lineman,” Paul Johnson said after the team completed its 12th practice of the preseason.

That’s at least the second time that Johnson has praised Cooper, a sophomore, in such terms. Cooper is going into his first season as a starter after backing up Freddie Burden last year as a freshman.

For Tech, it’s an encouraging evaluation, particularly considering the play that left guard Parker Braun delivered last season, which earned him spots on freshman All-America teams last year and a spot on the Outland Trophy watch list in July. Braun and Cooper surging into defensive lines to create gaps for another sophomore, B-back Dedrick Mills, for the next three seasons could be a highly productive combination.

Johnson’s comment about Cooper followed a similar remark that he made in July at the ACC Kickoff in Charlotte, N.C.

“Kenny Cooper can be a tremendous player,” Johnson said then. “He has a chance to be as good as anybody we’ve had there at that position if he’ll commit to keep his weight down and work hard. He’s a talented young man.”

The player who has set the standard at center for Tech in Johnson’s nine-year tenure, Sean Bedford, was twice named first-team All-ACC.

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