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Jonathon Cooper: ‘Thank you for making my dreams become reality’

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Jonathon Cooper spent five years as a team leader and emotional lynchpin for Ohio State. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

Ohio State Football

Jonathon Cooper: ‘Thank you for making my dreams become reality’

In a special appearance for Lettermen Row, Ohio State fifth-year senior captain Jonathon Cooper gives his thanks to Buckeyes fans, coaches and more following the final game of his college career.

Growing up in Columbus, I always dreamed of playing for Ohio State.

I grew up watching guys like Troy Smith, James Lauraintis, Maurice Clarett, Ted Ginn, Jr. and wanted to be just like them. I always used to think about playing for Jim Tressel and how cool that would be.

I didn’t get to play for Coach Tressel, but the rest still turned out pretty cool.

It’s been the honor of my life to suit up for the Buckeyes. My time playing at Ohio State was honestly a dream come true. I realized through my hard work that I actually got to where I wanted to be — and putting on that jersey for the first time was a feeling I’ll never forget.

I still get goosebumps when I think about it.

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Jonathon Cooper was a 5-star defensive end prospect when he left Gahanna Lincoln in the Class of 2016. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

It’s not something I can describe to people no matter how I try. Being a kid in Ohio who got to play for Ohio State? Even after doing it for years, it still seems unbelievable even to me.

There are so many things to say about what I’ve gone through as a Buckeye. So many challenges that I had to face and adversity I had to overcome. There are so many people I owe thanks to, and I don’t know even where to start with that. But to those people who helped me and made me who I am as a man through college, I know you know how I feel about you. I know you know how much I owe to you. To all my coaches, trainers, and everyone else who spent their days making sure that mine were as good as could be, my thanks will never be enough, and I know that.

To the players that I’ve played with, those who have come and gone, thank you for everything. You all have taught me so much and are the best group of brothers I’ve ever had or ever will. To the fans that supported me along this journey and didn’t give up on me? Thank you. I appreciate the support more than you know and will carry it with me to every place I ever go from here.

There are tons of other people I want to thank, but I’d run out of room.

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Jonathon Cooper leaves Ohio State with four pairs of Gold Pants. (Birm/Lettermen Row)

My time at Ohio State taught me how to be a man and how to truly overcome adversity. If you just keep working, just keep going it will pay off. I will never forget the times in the locker room with my brothers and all those days that they got me through it. My college career at Ohio State didn’t always go as I thought it would, but when do things ever really? This place taught me that you have to give yourself the opportunity and to work to get where you are, but you never really know how things are going to pan out. 

I don’t regret a thing. Honestly, after giving my all to this great program I wouldn’t change anything, either.

When the national championship game ended on Monday night, I had a very tough time leaving the field in Miami. It’s crazy, because sure I was hurt at the way this season ended, but more than anything else I just didn’t want to have to take off my uniform. 

It has meant everything to me, and I’ve given all of me to it. I hope I’ve represented myself, my family, and everyone who ever dreamt of being in the situation I’ve been fortunate enough to find myself in these last few years in a way that makes Buckeye Nation proud. 

Thank you for making my dreams become reality.

— Coop —