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OL Prospect Lyndon Cooper Impressed after 'Virtual' Campus Tour

Even though the NCAA's dead period for in-person visits between coaches and recruits is still in effect, NC State and offensive line prospect Lyndon Cooper show that on-campus visits are still possible

Recruiting in college sports never stops, even at a time in which coaches and recruits aren't allowed to have face-to-face visits because of coronavirus concerns.

So with the NCAA having extended its dead period for in-person contact until at least July 31, recruiters have had to get creative in how they sell their programs and schools to the prospective players they're pursuing.

When it comes to the "new reality" of virtual recruiting, NC State football coach Dave Doeren and his staff appear to be ahead of the curve.

An example of that came Friday, when offensive line coach John Garrison and recruiting director Merci Falaise accompanied prospect Lyndon Cooper on FaceTime as the offensive guard and his mother toured the Wolfpack's campus and football facility.

"I got the offer (from State) two or three weeks ago and Coach Garrison and Coach Doeren were telling me to at least come up and see the city," Cooper said Saturday in a phone interview with SI All Wolfpack before catching a flight home to Carrollton, Ga. "They set up with me and Coach Merci and we did a FaceTime basically through the whole thing."

Cooper and his mom walked around campus, visiting sites such as the Free Expression Tunnel, which is currently painted with a mural of George Floyd. He also spent time at the Wolfpack's Murphy Center, where he got an added bonus.

"I was lucky enough meet some players in the indoor facility when I went in there to look at it," Cooper said. "The gate was open to the stadium, so I guess the guys could go in there.

"Everything was on FaceTime, but it was still a visit. Just not in person with a coach. It was still a good experience."

Cooper is a rapidly-rising 6-foot-3, 315-pound guard who also holds an offer from ACC Atlantic Division rival Syracuse, among other schools.

The Wolfpack began contacting him in early March, before the coronavirus pandemic hit the crisis stage and despite the restrictions on recruiting, State's interest in him has only grown since.

He was offered a scholarship on May 26.

"It was a good feeling just to get a feel for the city. Me and my mom really liked the city a lot," Cooper said. "Me and her got some gear and we're just happy with the visit. 

"The facilities are state-of-the-art. They're really nice. I didn't get to go inside the locker room or anything, but the school part and everything else is really nice."

Although he was already high on State and its staff, Cooper said he came away with an even more positive impression of the program and the City of Raleigh because of his visit.

"It definitely changed my views, knowing the city and all the opportunities around I can have," he said. "I want to go to school for business and real estate and (Raleigh) is an up-and-coming city with the technology and all that type of stuff. Just seeing that changed my mind about the school and how it would feel if I was to come to NC State."

Cooper said that he's not close to making a decision on where he'll play his college ball. He will continue to process, but hopes to complete it before he starts his senior season this fall.

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