The Carolina Panthers Community Captain program recognizes outstanding high school student-athletes in North and South Carolina who excel on the football field, in the classroom, and in the community. The Panthers encourage their future development as role models while they continue their personal growth in college and in their professional careers.
Cooper (6-2, 304) is rated as the top offensive guard in North Carolina by Scout.com and has been named as a member of the 2007 North Carolina Shrine Bowl squad. He has played football at the varsity level for three years and was voted as a team captain for his senior season. Cooper also is successful in track and field; he placed second in the conference in shot put. As a team captain of the wrestling team, he placed first in the conference and went on to be the fifth-ranked heavy weight in the state.
Cooper's goal is to play college football and, one day, make an NFL roster. He currently holds athletic scholarship offers from Duke, East Carolina, North Carolina, North Carolina A&T, North Carolina State, South Carolina, and Wake Forest.
Off the field, Cooper holds a 3.25 GPA. In 2006, he received awards for Excellence in Science and in Social Studies. He was a 2006 North Carolina Scholar Athlete and was selected by the Wilmington Star-News as a Student Achiever. Cooper plans to obtain a degree in physical therapy or sports medicine.
Cooper is selfless with his time away from the classroom and football field. "It has been important to me to be involved in the community," says Cooper. "As a student-athlete, I feel it's my responsibility, and actually a privilege, to be a positive role model, especially for kids."
Cooper's commitment to the Wilmington community is apparent. He tutors children at the Family & Neighborhood Institute, an inner city kids program that helps develop reading, math, and communication skills. Through the school's Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) program, he assists in making personal hygiene boxes for the homeless. Once or twice a month, Cooper joins his church in visiting the elderly at Mariner Health Care nursing home.
This semester, Cooper was asked to speak at an FCA fund-raiser banquet about his responsibilities as a student-athlete and role model. "He had to stand up in front of 300 high-ranking, well-respected citizens of Wilmington," says Cooper's biology teacher and FCA leader Cindy Ducharme. "But he got through his speech just fine. The guests were so impressed."
Added J.T. Hoggard Head Coach Scott Braswell, "Jonathan is simply a joyous, delightful person to be around. He has such a dynamic, outgoing personality and is willing to help anybody out. Everybody likes him."
Jonathan Cooper and the rest of the 2007 Carolina Panthers Community Captain class will be recognized at Bank of America Stadium during a special on-field ceremony prior to the Seattle Seahawks vs Carolina Panthers game on December 16th. Award recipients will receive an authentic Carolina Panthers Community Captain jersey and will have the opportunity to participate in select Panthers community outreach events with current Panthers players.