David Cooper will admit he didn't take his academics seriously while at Brookwood.
For the former standout linebacker that meant a bad SAT score, which prevented him from signing with a Division I college in 2010.
A couple of years later, Cooper has turned around his study habits. While at Coffeyville Community College in Kansas, Cooper earned a 3.0 GPA. He signed with Indiana's football program in December and has a different outlook on academics now.
"When I went the JUCO route, I learned a lot," Cooper said. "Everything I did in high school grade-wise, I had to change. The main thing was time management and less social time."
Cooper spent a year-and-a-half at Coffeyville focused on two things -- academics and football. When he wasn't at practice or in team meetings, he was in the student center studying. He frequently turned down opportunities to go hang out with friends and teammates so he could turn in projects early.
"I took advantage of the resources around me," Cooper said. "I was at the student center when I wasn't at football. I made sure I turned in my assignments early."
The hand work in the class room paid off with a 3.0 GPA and he earned the team's academic achievement award.
"I took it home and everyone was excited," Cooper said.
Cooper was also one of the top linebackers in the JUCO ranks. He made 104 tackles, which was second on the team, despite missing three games with a hamstring injury. He was all-conference honorable mention and was ranked by Rivals.com as the No. 2 JUCO inside linebacker.
The 6-foot, 230-pound Cooper received college scholarship offers from a half dozen schools, including Kentucky, Iowa State and Memphis. He signed with Indiana in December where he plans to major in sports management.
"I love it," Cooper said of Indiana. "Everything is great. The school, the team, players, coaches, my professors, just the whole college life is great."
The college experience is one Cooper nearly never got to have because of his poor grades in high school. He hopes his story will inspire younger kids to follow down the same path.
"That's what I tell a lot of high school kids now that are in the same situation and going the JUCO route," Cooper said. "You have to suck it up and don't do the things you did in high school. JUCO is harder with the competition not only on the field, but academically. You have to have a strong mind. I've seen a lot of guys not make it. You make it through JUCO and you're on the right path."
Broncos' Henson headed to Navy
Brookwood is expected to have at least seven players sign scholarships today, including two to service academies. Offensive/defensive lineman Camaran Henson committed to Navy recently. Teammate Jackson Buonamia is headed to Air Force. The pair make up a group of six players that will sign with service academies, including North Gwinnett's Justin Alabi (Air Force), Mill Creek's A.J. Ruechel (Air Force), Greater Atlanta Christian's DaSean Daniels (Navy) and Wesleyan's Zander Yost (Navy).
GAC's Chapple to walk-on at UGA
Greater Atlanta Christian quarterback Jared Chapple will walk-on at the University of Georgia this fall.
The 6-foot-4, 235-pound Chapple threw for 174 yards with two touchdowns in a limited role for the Spartans this season but also played defense.
Chapple's older brothers Lee and Colton played at North Alabama and Harvard, respectively, last season.
Parker Fair will sign with the University of Dayton, while Kalif Raymond is headed to College of the Holy Cross.
Central's Taylor makes switch
Aaron Taylor committed to Toledo back in October, but a week before national signing day the Central Gwinnett senior made a switch.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound defensive back is headed to Ball State and not Toledo.
Taylor committed to Tim Beckman's Toledo program in the fall, but Beckman left for the Illinois job in December.
The coaching change prompted Taylor to look at other schools again.
Ball State was one of the original schools to recruit Taylor, along with Georgia State and Gardner-Webb.
Armah joins teammate at UWG
A week after quarterback Rocky Capobianco committed to West Georgia, teammate Alex Armah did the same thing.
The 6-foot-1, 210-pound Armah, who earned all-county honors as a tight end, will sign with the Wolves today.
Diego Rodriquez (Georgia Southern), Corey Levin (Tennessee-Chattanooga) and Juanye Roberts (Dean Junior College) will also sign today.
Shiloh contingent headed to Concordia College
Shiloh will send a dozen players to Concordia College, a historically black school in Selma, Ala.
The group includes Rolanzo Bruce, Justin Callaway, Alex Gardner, Kyle Hill, De'Shawn Minor, Michael Oden, Marnez Ogletree, Davon Perrin, Martin Rhymer, Marquis Shelton, Clayton Smith and Phillip Trocheck.
Shiloh will also have Stephen Weatherly sign with Vanderbilt and Tyler Claytor to William and Mary.
Mustangs' Sam going to Morehead St.
Meadowcreek defensive back RayQuan Sam has committed to Morehead State University. Sam was a three-year starter for the Mustangs.
Eagles' Hinderleider going to Stetson
Collins Hill offensive lineman Alan Hinderleider will sign with Stetson University, a private school in Central Florida.
The 6-foot-2, 280-pound Hinderleider helped Collins Hill to the state playoffs for the fourth straight season.
North adds two more
Region 7-AAAAA champion North Gwinnett will have nine players make college decisions today.
Offensive lineman Austin Parker and receiver Tyler Nemec were the latest to make commitments. Parker is headed to Jacksonville State University, while Nemec is going to Georgia State as a walk-on. Nemec missed his senior season with a torn ACL, but was the team's leading receiver in 2009.
Other Bulldogs expected to sign today are Justin Alabi (Air Force), Scotty Hosch (Harvard), Malcolm Jackson (Charleston Southern), Joe Jones (UMass), Carl Rider (Furman), Chad Scott (Furman) and Jordan Washington (Mississippi State).
Blue Devils' Beauchamp chooses Centre College
Norcross defensive tackles Kristopher Beauchamp will sign with Centre College in Kentucky today.
The 6-foot, 235-pound lineman made 85 tackles and 5 sacks for the Blue Devils this season.
Duluth's Ruskell going to Ga. State
Duluth offensive lineman Mark Ruskell has committed to Georgia State, which will enter it third season this fall.
The 6-foot-2, 290-pound Ruskell was a Daily Post third-team all-county selection.
He will join teammates Anfornee Stewart (Middle Tennessee), Nick Wasylyk (Tusculum) and Joshua Johnson (Thomas Moore College), who will also sign today.Buford RB going to Coastal CarolinaBuford running back Andre Johnson is headed to Coastal Carolina. The 5-foot-11, 220-pound Johnson rushed 1,081 yards and 18 touchdowns to lead the Wolves to the Class AA state runner-up.
Johnson and defensive back Ryan Dillard were the latest Buford players to make commitments. Dillard chose Yale over the weekend.
Other Buford players expected to sign today are Vadal Alexander (LSU), Dequan Clark (Georgia Southern), Reid Ferguson (LSU), Kurt Freitag (Alabama), Paris Head (Vanderbilt), Robert Hill (Tennessee-Chattanooga), Dillon Lee (Alabama), Rick LeGrant (UNC-Charlotte), C.J. Moore (Virginia) and Nathan Staub (North Carolina).