Tuesday, January 1, 2013
ESPN 300 DE Hooper near decision
By Brandon P. Oliver
SANTA ANA, Calif. -- With a strong performance during the first two days of practices for the 2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl, one of the top uncommitted prospects in the West is showing why he is a member of the ESPN 300.
DE Austin Hooper (Concord, Calif./De La Salle) has been one of the stars for the standout defensive line that the West squad is featuring this week. After helping De La Salle capture yet another California state title two weeks ago, the versatile Hooper has shown good quickness, hands and a motor that doesn't stop during the first two days of practice.
2013 Semper Fidelis All-American Bowl
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"It's been good. They have me playing defensive end this week and it's good to play with so many talented guys," said Hooper, who also plays tight end. "I don't really care where I play; I just want to help my team win."
Speaking of where he might play, Hooper is down to five schools -- Oregon, Oregon State, Washington, Stanford and cal -- as he prepares to make a decision later this month. On Tuesday, he said he likely won't commit until he is able to visit two more programs.
"I am probably going up to Oregon on Jan. 11. They have a great program and I can't wait to check it out," Hooper said. "I'm doing to try and get up to Oregon State on the weekend of Jan. 25, but I'm not sure about that one yet."
After officially visiting Washington in October, Hooper turned his attention to the Spartans' playoff run. He was able to unofficially visit the two local Pac-12 programs on numerous occasions, though.
"I went to Washington early on and I've been to Cal and Stanford plenty of times, so I really just want to get to Oregon and maybe Oregon State before making my decision," Hooper said.
Hooper is being recruited as a tight end by the Ducks, with the expectation that he will also be ready to play rush end for the dynamic Ducks' defense.
"[Oregon Tight ends and special teams] Coach [Tom] Osborne is my main recruiter right now, but I also talk to Coach [Nick] Aliotti [defensive coordinator] a little bit," he said. "They like my game and say it just depends on where they need me to play."
Washington defensive line coach Tosh Lupoi is leading the Huskies' pursuit of the 6-foot-5, 245-pound Hooper.
"Washington likes me at defensive line, Cal likes me at rush end and Stanford says I could play on either side of the ball," Hooper said. "It really doesn't matter to me. Whatever the team needs, I'm gonna work hard to try and give that to them."
Hooper said he has no timeline for a commitment and it could come at any time.
"I know what the Bay Area schools are like and I've been to Washington already, too," Hooper said. "I need to see Oregon because I like them a lot, and once I see Oregon I'll have a pretty good idea of what I want to do."