Tom Allen was a high school football coach in the Indianapolis area long before he became head coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, so he knows the value of in-state talent. Allen succeeded in keeping another top player at home when Indianapolis Lawrence North’s four-star wide receiver Omar Cooper Jr. announced his commitment to the Hoosiers on Wednesday.

“I chose IU because it felt like home,” Cooper remarked. “I was really comfortable on the campus and coach Allen, he’s just a great guy and coach. They have been on the come-up and doing really good, especially this previous year.”

Indiana was one of the first schools to offer Cooper back during the winter of his sophomore year. He would take official visits to Bloomington and one to West Virginia in June, ultimately narrowing his list to those two programs before picking the Hoosiers.

“It is very close to home,” Cooper noted. “Family and friends will be able to come to the games, and I know a lot of people who are going there already, including Donaven (McCulley) and my basketball teammate CJ Gunn. All that helps a lot.”

The connection with McCulley was particularly impactful in Cooper’s decision. The duo connected for 91 receptions for 1,125 yards and 27 touchdowns over the previous two seasons for Lawrence North High.

“That was a really big factor,” Cooper acknowledged. “I wasn’t going to make my decision (because of) it, but being able to maybe play with him again was really amazing. That made me really consider it a whole lot because of how close we became.”

Cooper becomes the third four-star commitment for Indiana in a class that now ranks among the top 25 in 2022.

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