Thrilled to be a Spartan Dawg Demetrius Cooper Is Healthy and Dangerous on the Michigan State DL
Demetrius Cooper: â€¦When weâ€™re in the team meeting room he (Shilique Calhoun) tells me what to do, tells me what Iâ€™m doing wrong. I just watch everything. Every step he makes I watch. When heâ€™s doing bad, I tell him. And when Iâ€™m doing bad he tells me. So itâ€™s a combination.
Q: When we see him out here he just looks so energetic and seems like so much fun. Is he like that on the field too?
DEMETRIUS: Oh yeah, heâ€™s like that all the time. He just tells me that if youâ€™re happy and youâ€™re energized, youâ€™re gonna make plays. He just tells me whatever I do to go for it 100%. Donâ€™t take no plays off.
Q: You were one of the top players in the country before your injury. All the schools pulled their offers, except Michigan State, and they all wanted to come back at the end and get you. What did you tell them?
DEMETRIUS: Itâ€™s just like once you leave somebody behind itâ€™s hard to get them back. If you walk away from your mama, sheâ€™s gonna look at you and feel some type of way about that. Her son just turned on her. So when the coaches turned on me Iâ€™m like, â€˜Iâ€™m not going back. You gave up on me. Why would I come back this time? You might give up on me again.â€™
Q: Are you looking forward to facing some of those teams in the Big 10 and Bowl games and punishing them?
DEMETRIUS: Iâ€™m looking forward to playing anybody, especially teams that turned on me. It is what it is.
Q: Which teams are those?
DEMETRIUS: I ainâ€™t gonna say the name or anythingâ€¦
Q: Notre Dame? Ohio State? Michigan?
DEMETRIUS: Michigan was one of them. Yeah.
Q: Really? Did they offer you?
Q: And then they pulled the offer?
DEMETRIUS: They were one of the first schools that actually came in. I was getting mail from themâ€¦
Q: And what happened?
DEMETRIUS: I had messed up my knee junior year and they just stopped talking to me. Iâ€™d call them and theyâ€™d say, â€˜Who it is?â€™ I was like alright, I ainâ€™t gonna call you again. And thenâ€¦
Q: Who was this?
DEMETRIUS: I donâ€™t remember the coachâ€™s name. I donâ€™t care. My senior year I went to a camp with all their recruits and their commitsâ€¦Logan, whatâ€™s the other guyâ€™s name? The guard? I ran through all of them, one by one. The guy from Michigan was justâ€¦ Then theyâ€™re calling me every day, trying to get me to come and Iâ€™m like, â€˜Nah Iâ€™m goodâ€™. Thatâ€™s not a school I wanna go to.
Q: How hard was that? You have an injury and youâ€™re looking at possibly having your scholarship go down the tubes.
DEMETRIUS: It was hard. Everything just went dark. It was just likeâ€¦Iâ€™m done with football.
Q: But State was still calling?
DEMETRIUS: Yeah. The only school that stayed around was Michigan State.
Q: Who was recruiting you?
DEMETRIUS: Coach Roushar. Heâ€™s with the Saints now. When I got hurt, I really was fittinâ€™ to just stop playing football after my senior year. I was like no, Iâ€™m done.
Q: You talked on my radio show a couple years ago about what that call meant when they said they were sticking with you. You talked about what an emotional moment that was for you…
DEMETRIUS: Yeah. It was a good moment. They were one of the schools that really stayed with me. They knew I was hurt and they said, â€˜Weâ€™re gonna still stick with you. Weâ€™re not the type of school to just walk away.â€™ The thing with Michigan State, they donâ€™t always recruit on the rankings. They come out and they watch and they see. In every class at Michigan State weâ€™ve got two-stars, three-stars. Weâ€™ve rarely got five-stars. And then you look at the records, weâ€™re in the Big 10 every year. With the rankings..it doesnâ€™t really matter with the rankings because you could have a player that doesnâ€™t event rankâ€¦ Like Darqueze Dennard, heâ€™s one of them. He wasnâ€™t ranked, had a scholarship offer. Look at him now, Thorpe Award winner.
Q: Shilique, three-stars or something like that?
DEMETRIUS: Yeah, Shilique barely had three-stars.
DEMETRIUS: Leâ€™Veon only two-stars. I donâ€™t know how I got three stars. I ainâ€™t played in two years.
Q: Whatâ€™s your excitement level like for this spring game, just because itâ€™s been so long since youâ€™ve played?
DEMETRIUS: Oh man, itâ€™s really exciting. I just canâ€™t wait to get out there and play in front of a lot of people. From the high school I come from, barely even 20 people come to the games. Coming out for the spring game and playing for the (?), my adrenalineâ€™s gonna be running. Iâ€™m ready for it.
Q: I asked you a year ago what that first game that you play will be like for you, and you said probably a lot of tears. Will that come at Jacksonville State or at the spring game?
DEMETRIUS: Tears are gonna come regardless because Iâ€™m blessed to even be here. Like I said in one of my interviews awhile ago, the average kidâ€¦none osâ€¦ The majority of the kids play four years in high school and get a scholarship. I ainâ€™t played since 2010 when I was 15 years oldâ€¦Iâ€™m 19 nowâ€¦
Q: You didnâ€™t play in any games as a junior or senior?
DEMETRIUS: I played in one game my senior year. I had to get eligible before I could transfer schools.
Q: So you got in one game and then you got hurt again?
DEMETRIUS: No, I didnâ€™t get hurt in the game. I was stretching because my knee was still messed up. It just popped when I was stretching. So thatâ€™s what happened. I was like, â€˜Man, Iâ€™m gonna lose my scholarshipâ€™. I was told if you tell the school they might take it. No, Iâ€™m just gonna take the risk and tell them. I donâ€™t wanna go out there and be hurt. I just called them and they were likeâ€¦rehab, weâ€™re gonna stick with you. Itâ€™s just a blessing.
Q: So your senior year you had already committed to Michigan State, but you just kinda shut it down. It wasnâ€™t necessarily an injury, right?
DEMETRIUS: It was an injury. I could have still played. I could have played. I could have put a brace on.
Q: So the last game you played was your sophomore year.
DEMETRIUS: Yeah. Last full game, sophomore year.
Q: How many offers were you getting at that point?
DEMETRIUS: A ton of them. All the big schools was calling me. All of them.
Q; Coach Burtonâ€™s pushing you hard. You like that, donâ€™t you?
DEMETRIUS: Oh man. I mean, I do. Thatâ€™s just good leadership, you know? Thatâ€™s just putting it in my head that I just canâ€™t take no plays off. Sometimes I hate it because Iâ€™m tired, but I just gotta push through it. Shilique tells me the same thing. It was the same when Will was here. â€˜Come on, Shilique. Youâ€™re the next one upâ€™. Now he tells me he more than likely will be leaving and Iâ€™m the next man in the spot. They tell me all the time to be ready. I watch everything they do.