She’s just so caring and loving,” he said. “Every time me and my friends go over there, she makes us food and snacks. —Cammon Cooper, on his grandma, Carolyn Cooper
LEHI — His grandmother has been a source of love, support and food throughout his life, so Lehi quarterback Cammon Cooper knew exactly how he could honor her this month.
October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and a lot of sports teams accent their regular uniforms with pink to raise awareness and honor those battling the disease. Cooper’s paternal grandma, Carolyn Cooper, was diagnosed with breast cancer.
Friday night, he slid on a pink arm sleeve and wore pink cleats to honor her.
“She’s everything,” he said. “She lives less than a mile from our house. I grew up living there for a while until we got our house, and we still go there every Sunday for dinner.”
Grandma Carolyn loves to cook, and Cooper said he and his friends have been the beneficiaries.
“She’s just so caring and loving,” he said. “Every time me and my friends go over there, she makes us food and snacks.”
For Friday’s 40-21 win over Highland, Grandma Carolyn painted Cooper’s number on the back of her head where her hair is just beginning to grow back.
The Washington State-bound senior said it’s been difficult to watch her struggle with the disease and subsequent treatments.
“She really loves to cook and eat, and seeing how the therapy is affecting her taste (buds),” he said. “Sometimes she doesn’t like to eat her own food, even though it’s delicious.”
Lehi head coach Ed Larson said he lets players wear pink if they want to during October.
“I just ask that they wear pink in honor of someone close to them, or someone they know,” he said. “I have about a dozen kids wearing pink now. I want them to do it for the right reasons. If you’re wearing pink because it’s cool, I’m not into that. But if it’s for a personal reason, I’m good with that.”
Cooper is enjoying an impressive senior season with eight passing touchdowns (tied for first). He doesn’t love the glare of the spotlight, but he said he’s getting used to it.
“Obviously, there has been a lot of pressure, with all the outside stuff about me,” he said. “I’ve been able to clear that out pretty well and just play my own game, especially the last couple of games.”
He said he’s adjusting to the increased attention both on and off the field.
“My first interview as a sophomore, it was terrible,” he said. “I’m getting more comfortable with it. I know I need to.” Lehi lost back-to-back games, but has earned three straight wins to be undefeated in region play. The difference, he said is more focus and more fun. “Our execution is just a lot better,” he said. “We were playing too tense, and so we talked about it as a team, and we’re just playing loose and having fun as teammates.”
Larson said Cooper’s leadership comes from the way he plays.
“One of the things that everybody (college coaches) looked at was his anticipation skills,” Larson said. “We throw to the tight ends so much, that he’s really learned to throw inside the hash marks. That’s the number one comment I’ve heard is that he gets it. He can throw to small windows.”
Cooper entertained offers from 18 schools, although he said BYU and Utah didn’t show much interest outside of the Cougars asking him to commit as a sophomore.
He wanted to go out of state, and Washington was far enough, but also close enough to home. He said the fact that the offense suits his abilities clinched it.
And then, of course, there is head coach Mike Leach.
“He’s awesome,” he said. “You could ask him a question about anything in the world, and he’d talk about it for 30 minutes. He keeps things interesting.” He said he spoke to Logan alum and current Cougar quarterback Luke Falk a few times while being recruited.
“He’s a stud,” Falk said of Cooper during last week’s Pac-12 teleconference. “He’s a kid with tremendous talent, and I’m glad Washington State snagged him. I think he’ll do great up here.”
Cooper plans to continue wearing pink for grandma Carolyn, and he said he appreciates the fact that she attends every game.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It means everything to have her there and all of my family at every game.”