Cooper signs to play football at Toledo

By Mike Wertman, Sports Writer Posted 20 December 2017 at 5:44 pm

Photo by Cheryl Wertman – Medina High senior Jalin Cooper signs a national letter of intent to accept a football scholarship from the University of Toledo. He is joined by his parents Sandy and Eric Hellwig. In back are Adam and Jason Hellwig.

After making a verbal commitment last June, Medina High senior Jalin Cooper made it official this evening as he signed a national letter of intent to accept a Division 1 football scholarship from the University of Toledo.

“I am so excited to be going to one of the top offenses in the country,” said Cooper who signed on the first day of the NCAA’s new three day early signing period for football.  “They were ranked 6th in the nation this year, and I am a good fit for the offense they run.”

On why he chose Toledo, Cooper says, “Toledo is a football school, first. They have a good reputation, they’ve created a culture of winning, and I will have the opportunity to compete for a MAC championship every year and play in bowl games. I’ve been to a couple of games and their stadium is full. I’m excited to play in front of crowds like that. They also have some of the best facilities.

“We visited a lot of schools and Toledo’s facilities are equal to schools in the ACC and PAC-12. But most important is the chance to play for this coaching staff. Coach Candle does a great job of getting the best players he can and he sends several to the NFL every year.

“I have had the chance to talk with guys like David Fluellen, who’s dad actually played at Medina, and Kansas City Chiefs running back Kareem Hunt, who might be NFL Rookie Of The Year. Those guys believe in Toledo and Coach Candle 100 percent. Even players who went to other schools have told me if I have a chance to play at Toledo, I should take it. He also gets the best coaches for every position and I can’t wait to learn more about being a receiver from Coach Bellamy.”

Cooper is planning on majoring in Social Work. “I  want to help people, especially kids. Toledo has a program that will allow me to get my degree and get field experience with internships. Their graduates all get jobs, so the school is well respected.”

Cooper, who came to Medina as a sixth grader from Chicago, is also quick to point out how much his adopted home town has meant to him

“I can’t believe my high school career is almost over. When I first came here in 6th grade, I never dreamed of this,” he said.  “Of course I loved sports and had the same dream as every little kid of being a professional athlete, but I had no idea what it took to get to this level. I can’t thank Coach Valley, Coach Forrestel, and Coach Dole enough for fall they’ve done for me. They’ve given me the skills I need and taught me how to work hard. I don’t know where I would be without the support of all my coaches and teachers at Medina, but I don’t think I would have the opportunity that is in front of me now.”

Cooper, who is a two-time All-Western New York football squad honoree, is also a two-time first team Niagara-Orleans All-League basketball selection. In addition, he is a two-time Section VI 100 and 200 meter track champion.