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South Valley Riverton Journal

Hooper signs at Wyoming

Mar 09, 2018 12:08PM ● By Greg James

Summit Academy senior and early graduate Jess Hooper signed his letter of intent to play football at the University of Wyoming. (Jenny Burgess/Summit Academy)

Summit Academy student-athlete and West Jordan resident Jesse Hooper signed a letter of intent to play football at the University of Wyoming.

“They were my only Division 1 full scholarship offer, so that played a big role in my choice,” Hooper said. “Laramie reminds me a lot of home, and it is similar to Utah. We also play in the Mountain West (Conference), so we play Utah State every year. All of my games are close to home, so my family can come and support me.”

As a sophomore at Copper Hills, his uncle was a chemistry teacher at Summit Academy. He decided to check the school out and made the difficult decision to transfer. He said he enjoyed the camaraderie and friends he made at Summit Academy.

“It was a great school,” he said. “I felt like I knew everyone.”

He was an offensive lineman in high school, and being bigger than most kids growing up, he spent a majority of time as an x-man in little league where he constantly weighed more than those in his grade. 

“I always looked at it that, yes, I weighed more than most of the kids” he said. “I would not change anything. As a lineman, you hit every play. It taught me not be scared of contact. I liked making that block that opened the hole for the score.”

The 5-foot-11-inch 230-pound senior also played linebacker in high school. He will be a long snapper at Wyoming.

“Playing long snapper is a lot of work when no one is watching,” he said. “You work on small technical things as well as practicing the skill to be good at it.”

In the final regular season game this past season against Juan Diego, the Bears were backed up and were forced to punt deep in their own territory. Execution of the long snap was necessary.

“A bad snap would have ended up in the end zone,” Hooper said. “It is one of those things you don’t think about. If you think too much it becomes a problem.” 

Hooper graduated early and enrolled at Wyoming in January. He is already participating in offseason training and getting ready for spring practice. He is majoring in secondary education and plans to become an English teacher. He hopes to teach at Summit Academy. 

“I am going to give it my best and try to challenge for a starting position my freshman season,” Hooper said. “Right now we are just training and weight lifting. The coaches would like get me to be a little faster and put on some muscle.”

In his senior season, Summit Academy lost in the state semifinals to Juan Diego, 38-37. The team had defeated the Soaring Eagle three weeks earlier, 51-49. The Bears competed in the 3A South division of the Utah High School Activities Association. They had a 9-2 record overall.

“You hear all of the time my team is a family, but I think at Summit that is true,” Hooper said. “Everyone knows each other. The teams all support each other. We had kids from all over the valley, and it taught me to respect kids who didn’t have the same experiences growing up that I did.”

Wyoming football has been improving its facilities, including finishing a new weight room. He said he likes the class sizes.

“I did meet Josh Allen (projected first-round NFL draft pick),” Hooper said. “It is awesome to see people succeed. Patience and prayer got me through my recruiting experience, and it all paid off. I am very thankful to everyone that helped me along the way.”