For as long as he can remember, Cooper incoming senior Phoenix Sproles’ dream has been to play collegiate football.
After announcing his commitment to play college football at North Dakota State University June 12, Sproles’ dream is set to come true.
“I have always dreamed of playing college ball, and a big factor in that is playing in front of big crowds,” Sproles said. “I know NDSU has a big fan base and it gets really loud in the Fargo Dome, so I’m really looking forward to that.”
With the start of his senior year of football at Cooper just around the corner, Sproles wanted to make his commitment during the early part of the summer in order to avoid having his college recruitment conflict with his senior season.
“I have had a lot of coaches and parental advice about when I should commit, and they thought and I thought it would be best to commit before the season,” Sproles said. “This way I don’t have to worry about if I still have offers, I just want to worry about my senior year and make sure my guys are squared off to win a state championship.”
Sproles posted a list of his top-8 potential destinations on Twitter May 16, but he believes he knew where he was going to go all along.
“I knew for a while now where I was going to end up,” Sproles said. “My sister goes there, I have had teammates in the past go there that were pretty successful, and it was a no-brainer at the end of the day.
“It’s close to home, about three hours.”
Sproles said the NDSU coaching staff’s relentless pursuit of him made his decision even easier.
“I really got to know the coaching staff during this process,” Sproles said. “They were tough recruiters, so I got to build a good relationship with them, which made this all easier.
“I just waited to see what else was out there, but NDSU was the best option.”
Before he leaves for Fargo, Sproles knows he can still improve his game.
“There’s always things I can improve on, but I feel everything at the next level is faster, so I have to improve my speed,” Sproles said. “I want to get way faster.”
Sproles will look to make those adjustments as Cooper looks to have a strong 2017 season. After a runner-up finish in the Section 5, Class 5A tournament last season, Sproles believes this season could be the year the Hawks take the leap and advance to the state tournament for the first time since 1996.
Cooper returns a majority of its high-powered offense that it showcased last season, which gives Sproles hope for success this season.
“Our offense is mostly full of returning players from last year,” Sproles said. “With Cameron King back at quarterback, I have no doubt he will get it done this year, I am expecting another 2,000-yard season from him.
“It’s going to be fun, we have some nice receivers coming back.”
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