UW running back Deontae Cooper, sporting a pair of “DC” diamond earrings, managed to flash his immaculate fashion style during Pac-12 media day. It’s a style Cooper says he inherited from his father, Willie, a former San Jose State football player who died suddenly March 28.
BURBANK, Calif. — They coordinated their look, each of the three Washington representatives wearing matching purple and gray polo shirts during their day in the spotlight at Warner Bros. Studios.
Even so, UW running back Deontae Cooper, sporting a pair of “DC” diamond earrings, managed to flash his immaculate fashion style during Pac-12 media day Thursday. It’s a style Cooper says he inherited from his father, Willie, a former San Jose State football player who died suddenly March 28.
Cooper, who missed the first two weeks of UW’s spring football practices after his father’s death, and his twin brother, Deontrae, have leaned on each other while they grieved.
“I had talked to him the day before and he was fine. The next day it was, boom,” Cooper said of his dad. “He just didn’t wake up. They didn’t say what it was. …
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“It was tough. Losing someone like that, No. 1 mentor, No. 1 supporter, No. 1 fan — when you lose all of those things in a sudden death it hurts. It kind of makes me want this (football) a little bit more than I already wanted.”
Cooper is, quite proudly, regarded as one of the best-dressed players on the UW roster, a credit to his dad’s influence. The twins — Deontrae is a senior wide receiver at Colorado State-Pueblo — also got their work ethic from their dad, who set up car-tire obstacle courses in their Perris, Calif., yard for his teenage sons to train on.
“He was big on his style,” Cooper said. “I think what was most important was just the vision he had for me and my brother and what he wanted to see us do. And the fact that he won’t be here to see it, it makes me want to make sure it still gets done.”
The story of Cooper’s perseverance at UW has been well chronicled, and rightfully so. One of the most respected players in the locker room, he is entering his sixth season with the Huskies — his third in a row on the field after his first three seasons were undone by three torn ACL in his knees.
Last year, in UW’s crowded backfield, Cooper played in all 14 games and made the first two starts of his career; he finished the season with 63 carries for 285 yards, plus one touchdown reception.
At 23, Cooper has already earned two undergraduate degrees and is working on his master’s in UW’s Intercollegiate Athletics Leadership Program. His goal is to one day be a college athletic director. But first, he wants to give everything he has to achieve he dream of playing in the NFL.
“I just feel confident,” he said. “I don’t want to get too confident, but it’s time to take that next step and tear the roof off. I’m just so anxious and excited about this opportunity.”
Miles played through pain
As UW’s starting quarterback last fall, Cyler Miles quietly played through a chronic hip injury, UW coach Chris Petersen revealed Thursday. The injury ultimately forced Miles to retire from the sport with two season of eligibility remaining.
“Cyler’s a tough kid. He really is,” Petersen said. “He never missed a practice or anything, but it was bothering him, and it got worse after the season. It continually got worse. In fact, we had to take him out of his training. … It was just too much and it wasn’t healing. Then when we really looked at it, it was going to maybe never heal the way it needed to, for him to get back to where he want to be.”
Miles had surgery on his hip after his senior season of high school, but the injury never came up when he took over as the Huskies’ starter last season. Since UW announced his retirement in June, Miles has not returned messages seeking comment.
CB recruit commits to UW
Kentrell Love, a cornerback recruit from Centennial High School in Corona, Calif., made a verbal commitment to the Huskies on Thursday.
Love, listed at 6-feet-2, 175 pounds, is rated a three-star recruit from Scout, Rivals and 247sports.
Later on Thursday, the Huskies have picked up their second commitment, this from center Nick Harris from JSerra Catholic High in San Juan Capistrano (Calif.).
Harris, listed at 6-feet-1, 275 pounds, is rated a two-star recruit by Scout. At JSerra, Harris is teammates with four-star lineman Luke Wattenberg, who committed to UW in April.
A ‘positive’ step toward DIRECTV deal
The $49 billion domino has fallen. Now the Pac-12 hopes its broadcasting network can finally find its way into more homes.
Since the Pac-12 launched its own network in 2012, the conference and DIRECTV have been at an impasse over the distribution of the Pac-12 Networks, a point of frustration for fans who subscribe to the otherwise sports-heavy DIRECTV programming.
Last week, the Federal Communications Commission approved AT&T’s $49 billion purchase of DIRECTV, a deal that Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott is optimistic will rekindle “positive” negotiations to get Pac-12 Networks on DIRECTV.
“We are delighted that our good partner AT&T successfully acquired DIRECTV,” Scott said Thursday. “We’ve been looking forward to this because we have an excellent relationship with AT&T. … I’m confident we’ll be a priority, and there will be discussions that take place hopefully very soon.”