"It was a big shock when Coach [Addazio] left, and none of the recruits in our class saw it coming," Cooper said. "It is an uneasy feeling when you commit and this happens."
Yet any fears were alleviated when he met with Rhule, who spent about three hours at the Cooper home last week. (NCAA rules prohibit a college coach from commenting on a recruit until a letter of intent is signed.)
"When we found out Coach Rhule was in the running, we were keeping our fingers crossed he would get the job," Cooper said. "I have talked to him a lot, and we had dinner with him the other night and I am really excited to play for him."
Cooper understands how fortunate he is to have a scholarship. He plans also to punt for the Owls although, his first year, he'll likely concentrate more on challenging for the placekicking job.
And he notices how rarely kickers get recruited.
"Very few kickers have committed to this point, and when you see the players from all the other positions, it shows that kickers don't get recruited like the other guys," Cooper said.
Which again is strange, since a championship can be won with one swing of the foot.
Cooper, at 6-foot-1 and 195 pounds, could have done much more than kick if he had been called upon.
"He is really athletic and could have played quarterback or another position for us, but he was so valuable kicking so we had him just concentrate on that," Mainland coach Bob Coffey said.
Cooper is following in the footsteps of his father, also Jim, who was a standout kicker at Mainland and then Temple.
The younger Cooper said the fact that his father attended Temple didn't really factor in his decision.
"Once I got on campus and saw the facilities and saw where the program was going, I fell in love with the place," Cooper said. "It was coincidental that my dad kicked there."
What was invaluable was his father's instruction.
"He has taught me everything I know about kicking," Cooper said.
There is only one Mainland record that the elder Cooper owns over his son - longest field goal. That was 47 yards. His son's longest was 45.
"I bust him about his," his father said, laughing.
Then turning serious, he added, "My career wasn't even a shadow compared to what he did at Mainland."
Earlier this month, the younger Cooper participated in the U.S. Army All-American Bowl in San Antonio.
He is now training for his college career with the goal of competing and winning the placekicking job as a freshman.
Leading up to signing date, there will be many kickers sweating it out, wondering if they will be offered a scholarship.
Cooper doesn't have those worries, and he's out to prove that a position that is so undervalued by many colleges is well worth the price of a scholarship.
Contact Marc Narducci at firstname.lastname@example.org or @sjnard on Twitter.