10 Joe Cooper

Joe Cooper Ohio State
usaUnited States
Columbus, OH
High School
Past Teams
Ohio State
1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001

Post-OSU Update: Joe Cooper was not drafted in the 2002 NFL Draft, but played the preseason with the New York Jets. Cooper was one of the final roster cuts. He played three games with Calgary Stampeders of the CFL in 2002. His son, Joseph Jr., competed on the track team at Ohio State. (updated: Aug. 2022)

Jersey #: 10 (1999-01), 39 (1997-98)

Major: Criminology (1999-01)

Weight: 225 (1999-01), 210 (1998)

2001 Media Guide: Joe Cooper returns, somewhat unexpectedly, after receiving an additional year of eligibility from the NCAA per rule … will be in his second year as a starter at WILL (weak side) linebacker and his second year as co-captain … his presence definitely strengthens an already solid position … won First-Team All-Big Ten honors and landed a spot on the third-team of the Associated Press All-America team … a vocal and emotional player … selected by his teammates as co-captain at the start of the 2000 season and recognized again by his teammates at the postseason banquet as Co-Most Inspirational Player … was the leading tackler among non-starters in both 1998 and 1999 … also a very good special teams player … has played in 36-consecutive games and has been a playmaker throughout his career.

2000 Season:Started all 12 games and was the Buckeyes’ second leading tackler with 80 total stops … also had 10 tackles-for-loss and four sacks … top game was 10 tackles against Michigan.

2000 Media Guide: Joe Cooper was extremely sick with a throat and ear infection and was forced to go back into the locker room minutes before kickoff vs. Iowa. So sick that Bob Hunter of the Columbus Dispatch wrote: “It’s probably best to leave the gory details to the New England Journal of Medicine.” But it takes more than illness to slow Cooper, one of the team’s most athletic linebackers. He made three huge plays in that game, stopping an Iowa running back for a loss on fourth-and-one, forcing an interception with a monster shot on Hawkeye quarterback Scott Mullen, and grabbing a pick of his own – the first of his career – in the end zone to help seal on OSU win. Following the game, when Cooper was asked what kind of illness would keep him out of a game, he replied: “hopefully, nothing. Maybe if I couldn’t walk.” That mentality has earned him the chance to win a starting job at the outside linebacker spot in 2000.

1999: Played in all 12 games … playing time increased dramatically as the season wore on … made a season-high eight tackles against Illinois … his one sack of the year was a big one, a fourth-quarter hit on Minnesota’s Billy Cockerham that stalled a Gopher drive … also registered two TFLs against Minnesota … averaged nearly 17 minutes per game in the last five games of the year.

1999 Media Guide: Joe Cooper wishes he was “two inches taller,” but when one hits like a freight train anyway, does size really matter? The powerfully-built Cooper made a name for himself last year, his first on the field as a Buckeye, as a backup outside linebacker and as a special teams warrior. He contributed 24 tackles to the nation’s fourth-ranked defense. This season, linebacker’s coach Fred Pagac expects Cooper to contribute more on defense. “He has made the adjustment from strong safety and is picking up things quite well,” Pagac said. Cooper is coming off a fine spring drills in which he was battling for the outside linebacker position vacated by Jerry Rudzinski. An ankle sprain halted his progress, but only momentarily. He’ll be ready to go in 1999.

1998: Played all 12 games. A special teams terror who was the ninth-leading tackler on the team and was the leading tackler among non-starters with 24 tackles. Forced a fumble in his first game as a Buckeye – vs. West Virginia – off a kickoff return. Led the team in tackles against Toledo , recording a career-high 10. Biggest play of the season came in a win over Penn State, recovering a blocked punt in the end zone for a touchdown that gave Ohio State a commanding 21-3 lead.

1997 Media Guide: Powerful defensive back built in the strong safety mold … notched an incredible 35 sacks as a Senior at linebacker and racked up 1,058 yards as a running back, averaging 7.3 yards per carry … Associated Press Division II Defensive Player of the Year and first-team All-State defense (Division Il) … played in the 1997 Ohio-Pennsylvania Big 33 Classic … son of Gary Cooper and Willadean Green … born 1-22-79.


SeasonTeamGGSTklSoloAsstTFLTFL YdsSacksSack YdsFFIntInt YdsPBUBlkDef TDKRKR Yds
1998Ohio State12024159130010000100
1999Ohio State1203622145191901000010
2000Ohio State1212805030103242211830000
2001Ohio State12128366176221811130000