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Like seemingly every boy born in the state of Texas, Michael Cooper grew up with dreams of playing football.

"At first, you're not thinking of playing past high school," he said. "You start off thinking that you're going to play well in the little leagues. And then, when you get to high school, you hope to play varsity. But as things progress, sometimes you realize, 'Hey, I can play at the next level.' "

Cooper's dream came true last weekend, when he verbally committed to the Arizona Wildcats' 2011 recruiting class.

Cooper, 17, carries a 3.8 weighted GPA; he chose Arizona over offers from such academic powerhouses as Duke, Rice and Vanderbilt.

The UA was an athletic and academic match, Cooper said. He plans on entering Arizona's renowned Eller College of Management.

"I was planning on majoring in business before I even visited Arizona," he said. "When I found out they had one of the best business schools in the country, that made the decision even easier."

The 17-year-old Cooper is a rare "hybrid" recruit. The 6-foot-5-inch, 230-pounder will start out at tight end, though - depending on playing time - he could switch to defensive end. Cooper played mostly defense as a junior at The Woodlands High School, in the Houston area.

Cooper is the 11th player to verbally commit to the Wildcats' 2011 class, and the fourth from Texas.

Arizona's newest recruit comes from a football family. His grandfather, John Michels, starred at Tennessee in the 1950s and was elected to the College Football Hall of Fame. Michels coached the Minnesota Vikings' offensive line from 1967-93, the longest tenure of anyone in club history.

Cooper's older brother, Perry, will play at UNLV starting this fall.

The Rebels were one of Michael Cooper's finalists, in part because of the family ties. In the end, though, Arizona won out.

"It's a great fit," he said.

Dean chooses TEXAS COLLEGE

Arizona Wildcats wide receiver Delashaun Dean will transfer to Division II Texas A&M-Kingsville, he confirmed Sunday.

Dean was considering offers from a handful of Division II schools after UA coach Mike Stoops suspended him from the team indefinitely last week. Dean was arrested and charged with one count of carrying a concealed weapon, a misdemeanor, outside a Tucson restaurant on June 19. He will appear in Tucson City Court on Tuesday.

Texas A&M-Kingsville has won seven Division II national championships and 34 conference championships in its history. The Javelinas football program has produced eight NFL first-round draft picks and three Pro Football Hall of Famers - Darrell Green, John Randle and Gene Upshaw.

Dean said he hopes to leave for Texas sometime in the next few weeks.

Ryan Finley