CONCORD, Calif. (BVM) – Cooper Flanagan has one more season with De La Salle football. The Notre Dame football recruit is excited for his chance to step up for the historic high school football program.
“It’s kind of always the seniors’ team so I’m just excited for that,” Flanagan said.
As one of the senior leaders on the team, Flanagan has been busy with offseason workouts alongside his teammates at De La Salle. Leading by example, Flanagan and his teammates have been working harder than usual because they enter this season with a goal that they don’t normally have.
“I think knowing that we didn’t meet expectations last year, I think we have something more to prove,” Flanagan said.
Expectations for De La Salle football are always high. The team had an infamous 151-game winning streak during the 1990s and early 2000s. There was even a movie made about the streak called “When the Game Stands Tall.” Since then, the Spartans have won six Open Division CIF State Football Championship Bowl Games from 2009 to 2015. They then made it to the championship game from 2016 to 2019.
This past season, De La Salle football went 10-3 and lost in the Division 1-AA Regional Finals to Folsom. The Spartans also had a 30-year, 318-game win streak against Northern California opponents broken when they lost to St. Francis.
For any other team, a 10-3 season would still be a success but not for De La Salle football and definitely not for Cooper Flanagan.
Flanagan is the right guy for the job. Even in a run–heavy offensive system, Flanagan led the Spartans in receiving yards with 285. He also had one receiving touchdown and helped De La Salle rush for 3,088 yards as well as 41 touchdowns.
It’s that blocking ability that allows Flanagan to be a perfect multi–tooled tight end. He can run block effectively and has pass-catching ability. Gerad Parker, the tight end coach for Notre Dame football, compared Cooper Flanagan to Pat Freiermuth.
“It’s definitely a cool thing to be compared to someone who is doing so well in the NFL,” Flanagan said.
The four-star recruit has been building his reputation as one of the best tight ends in the country since he got to De La Salle as a freshman.
“Growing up I always thought I would be a lacrosse player in college but I think freshman year I kind of realized football is the sport for me,” Flanagan said.
Soon after football became his priority, Flanagan realized he had the potential to take his career past high school. Then following his sophomore season, the college offers came pouring in. By August, Notre Dame football was offering Flanagan a scholarship.
Flanagan was impressed by the school’s academics as well as the rich tradition in South Bend. He quickly fell in love with the program and verbally committed to Notre Dame football in September of last year.
“It’s awesome,” Flanagan said about committing to Notre Dame football. “It’s a lot of pressure off my shoulders. Alabama is still recruiting me pretty hard so there’s still stuff like that but it’s definitely nice knowing I have a spot.”
Flanagan has received other offers along with Alabama but his place is with the Fighting Irish. Since committing, he has become close with his fellow recruits as well as the players on the team. His hope is to be ready to play from the moment he gets onto campus.
“Hopefully filling in the shoes of Michael Mayer (current Notre Dame tight end) is definitely something I look forward to doing,” Flanagan said.
But for now, he’s on mission to remind everyone that De La Salle football is well known for a reason.
“I’m looking forward to proving people wrong because we had a bad year last year so I’m just excited to put De La Salle back on top,” Cooper Flanagan said.