Nebraska secured its second commitment of the day late Sunday as defensive end Niko Cooper announced he would be joining the Huskers.
The three-star linebacker/defensive end from Hutchinson (Kansas) Community College continued NU's sprint toward early signing day by writing and tweeting his announcement on the flight home from his official visit. He followed fellow official visitor and linebacker Keyshawn Greene — who pledged to Big Red earlier in the day — to push the school's 2020 class to 18 known commits.
Cooper, a 6-foot-5, 220-pound native of Memphis, Tennessee, has three years to play three. He redshirted at Hutchinson in 2018 and followed with 24 tackles (nine for loss, including 2.5 sacks) in 11 games last year along with two forced fumbles.
"I learned a lot from experiencing the difficult times that took place in the (juco) route," Cooper tweeted in part. "I appreciate everything."
Hutchinson coach Rion Rhoades told The World-Herald earlier in the week Cooper is "an elite pass rusher" who can play with his hand down or as a stand-up rusher, though he may need to add some weight. The coach thought at the time Cooper would sign somewhere in February after taking official visits to Kansas State, Texas Tech and Maryland.
“The athleticism is off-the-charts good,” Rhoade?s said. “And he’s a really good kid who’s a quick learner.”
The defender had other offers from the likes of Akron and Kentucky. He improved his stock considerably from out of high school, where his best offers included Eastern Kentucky and Murray State.
Cooper called the Nebraska coaching staff "amazing" following his weekend visit. They had visited him during the contact period in recent weeks. He graduates this month and joins the team in January.
The Huskers continue to reshape their linebacker corps with the addition of Cooper and Greene. They already had commitments from Blaise Gunnerson of Carroll (Iowa) Kuemper and juco products Eteva Mauga-Clements (Diablo Valley) and Junior Aho (New Mexico Military Institute. They continue to pursue four-star linebacker Kaden Johnson out of Minneapolis and three-star Jimari Butler of Mobile (Alabama) Murphy.
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