Thursday, December 20, 2012
Austin Hooper ready to schedule visits
By Mason Kelley
CONCORD, Calif. -- The high school season is over. Concord (Calif.) De La Salle wrapped up an undefeated season. The Spartans claimed their fourth straight state championship.
Now that Austin Hooper has taken care of everything he hoped to achieve during this senior season, the 6-foot-5, 245-pound defensive end is ready to shift his attention back to recruiting.
During the season, Hooper reached a point where he asked coaches to wait until after De La Salle’s final game before continuing to contact him.
“I appreciate you talking to me, but my head is on state,” he told the coaches. “If you could call me after state, I would appreciate it.”
The day after the Spartans knocked off Corona (Calif.) Centennial, 48-28, to win the CIF Open Division Championship, Hooper said his phone kept ringing with calls from coaches.
They wanted to know when he wanted to schedule his official visits.
The four-star recruit visited Washington in November. Now he is trying to determine which schools he wants to take a longer look at with his final four trips.
“I’m definitely starting to narrow it down to a few schools,” he said.
Hooper, rated the No. 264 prospect in the ESPN 300, said he will visit Oregon. He would like to visit Oregon State and is also still interested in Cal, Stanford and Arizona State.
He knows he needs to make some decisions soon. But he is happy he didn’t rush into any decisions. After taking an unofficial visit to Notre Dame this summer, he felt pressured to make a quick decision.
“I didn’t want to make an early decision when I hadn’t seen a lot of the schools,” he said. “A lot of schools wanted me to make a decision before even seeing the campus.
"I wanted to let the schools sift out, if that makes sense, and the ones that are left, I want to take officials there.
“I needed time to get my head back on my shoulders, just rearrange my priorities. What type of degree do I want? Where does it fit? Where do I fit in the system? I’m happy I waited, because now I don’t have any other commitments.”
It has been more than a month since Hooper visited Washington, but the Huskies remain one of the favorites to land his services. As a defensive lineman, he is intrigued by the idea of having Tosh Lupoi as his position coach.
“Coach Lupoi is a guy who I would mostly work with if I would go there and play defensive line,” Hooper said. “He’s a great guy. Very knowledgeable and he has a lot of energy, which is cool. It’s fun to be around a younger guy.”
Hooper is going to pack a lot into January. He has trips to take and decisions to make. But he feels good about where he is at right now, and will continue to enjoy the feeling that comes with winning a state championship.
“It’s an incredible feeling when you win state and go out undefeated your senior year,” he said.