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Nov. 25, 2012
GREENSBORO, N.C. (theACC.com) – North Carolina’s Jonathan Cooper has been awarded the 2012 Jacobs Blocking Trophy, Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford announced Sunday. In doing so, Cooper, becomes the first North Carolina player to receive the Jacobs Trophy since 1988.
The Jacobs Blocking Trophy has been awarded annually since 1953 to the player voted the most outstanding blocker in the ACC by a poll of the league’s head coaches and defensive coordinators. The trophy is given in memory of William P. Jacobs, who served as president of Presbyterian College from 1935 to 1945. The trophy will be presented at the ACC’s Night of Legends event which will be held this Friday (6 pm) at the Charlotte Convention Center as part of festivities held around the Dr Pepper ACC Football Championship Game.
Cooper, a 6-3, 295-pound senior from Wilmington, N.C., was the runaway winner with a total of 29 points far outdistancing Clemson senior center Dalton Freeman (8) and North Carolina junior tackle James Hurst (6) to capture the 59th ACC Jacobs Blocking Trophy. No trophy was given in 1996. In all, 13 different ACC offensive linemen received votes in the balloting, but Cooper was named as the top choice on all but two ballots.
A four-year starter for North Carolina at guard and 2nd-team All-ACC selection in 2010 and 2011, Cooper last week became the first Tar Heel to be named a finalist for the prestigious Outland Trophy. He set a school record for games started yesterday when he started against Maryland, his 47th career start. Cooper has twice been honored as the ACC’s Offensive Lineman of the Week this year for his play against Miami (Oct. 13) and NC State (Oct. 27). This year he has averaged a 90 percent grade and posted 10 or more knockdown blocks in nine of 12 contests.
"This is a tremendous honor for Jonathan,” said North Carolina head coach Larry Fedora. “Coop is a tremendous player. He’s very athletic, he moves his feet like a tight end and can be dominant at the point of attack. I told our coaching staff that we should be happy we were able to coach him for one year because you might not ever see another player like him. He’s that special.
“I’ve learned from him this year and our team has benefitted from his leadership and service. As good a player as he is on the field, he’s even a better person off the field.”
Cooper helped lead a North Carolina offensive line which paved the way for an offense to be ranked 11th nationally scoring offense, averaging a school-best 40.6 points per game. UNC also ranks 17th nationally in total offense, averaging 485.6 yards a game, the best in school history.
He becomes the eighth North Carolina player to be named a recipient of the Jacobs Blocking Trophy, but the first in 24 years since former Tar Heel center Jeff Garnica captured the 1988 Trophy. Other UNC winners include Ron Wooten (1980), Ken Huff (1974), Ron Rusnak (1972), Geoff Hamlin (1971), Eddie Kesler (1964) and Jim LeCompte (1961).