TAMPA – Elusive. That’s the best word to describe Berkeley Prep rising junior athlete JaVon Cooper. The 5’11”, 170-pounder is in for an expanded role out of the backfield and in the slot this fall.
The Buccaneers went 6-4 but missed out on the postseason last year. He says that his sophomore season was a lot of fun.
“I was able to be around great football players in our seniors,” Cooper said. “I learned that in order to reach the bigger goal, there are steps to reach it.”
Cooper feels confident in the team’s progress. He says that everyone in the locker room is like a family and they’re all dedicated to the game of football.
Starting his football career at age 6, he played both cornerback and running back. Cooper says he gained the confidence playing in the Tampa Bay Youth Football League, guiding his team to a Super Bowl win.
Being apart of the Berkeley varsity team as an underclassmen is something that he says has helped him understand what to expect. He carried the ball 21 times for 103 yards last season, averaging an impressive 4.9 yards per run.
Cooper calls head coach Dominick Ciao “the best coach that any athlete can play for.” Ciao enters his 10th season at Berkeley Prep after taking over in 2007. Prior to that, he was the head coach of Jesuit (1986-2002).
“He [Ciao] has such a great football brain and I am trying to learn everything from him that I can. All the coaches are encouraging and want the best for every one of us.”
Although, Cooper has yet to earn his first offer or draw interest, the rising junior is out to prove himself this season.
He says his biggest strength is having confidence.
“I’m smaller than a lot of defenders but that does not stop me.”
On the practice field, Cooper is simply trying to do all the little things right. In the games, he wants to put the principles learned in practice together.
His focus this off-season is to bulk up and build a stronger relationship with all of his teammates. He wants to make the most of the opportunities that are given to him.
Cooper’s mom is his biggest role model in his life.
“She’s my biggest supporter. She makes sure I have what I need and works hard everyday for it.”
As for his ultimate goal, he wants to be the best player that he can be and eventually play college football.
Berkeley Prep has some weapons this season on offense and Cooper will certainly be in the mix to shine more often than not. He paced rising senior starter Gordon Stetson in the spring game last month against Admiral Farragut.
Expect Cooper to put in the work needed to take the next step. I wouldn’t be stunned to see him score his first prep touchdown pretty early in the season. Scouts should take notice of JaVon Cooper.
Favorite player to watch – Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson
Playlist before games – Future
Favorite movie – Space Jam
Fun fact about you that you think no one knows – “I like to dance a lot. Hit them folks is my go to dance.”
Nickname from teammates or friends – “Coop”
Game film: Cooper’s Hudl tape
Jake Perper is the scout for Prep Sports Scouting. Make sure to follow along for all the updates on Twitter: @JakePerper.
If you have any questions or comments feel free to write below or email Jake at firstname.lastname@example.org.