Wood's Cooper and Great Valley's Buchholz commit to Nittany Lions

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Great Valley's Ryan Buchholz, a junior and hard-charging defensive end, committed Monday to play for Penn State. (Photo courtesy of Hudl.com)

Two of Southeastern Pennsylvania's top football prospects in the Class of 2015 committed Monday afternoon to play at Penn State.

Archbishop Wood inside linebacker Jake Cooper and Great Valley defensive end Ryan Buchholz, both three-star prospects according to Rivals.com, pledged to new head coach James Franklin and the Nittany Lions during a visit to State College.

Franklin, who played quarterback at Neshaminy and East Stroudsburg, has already landed three area players. Wood's Ryan Bates, a 6-foot-5, 280-pound offensive tackle and four-star recruit, committed to Penn State earlier this month.

The 6-2, 225-pound Cooper was an Inquirer first-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania selection last season. He also had scholarship offers from Duke, Northwestern, Syracuse, and Virginia, among others.

"Penn State has so much to offer," the 18-year-old from Doylestown said. "Growing up in Pennsylvania and playing linebacker, you can't help but dream of playing at Penn State. It's Linebacker U. They've had some great linebackers, including Dan Connor and Paul Posluszny."

In Wood's drive to its second state crown last season, Cooper, who took an unofficial visit to Duke over the weekend, was a force at linebacker and tight end. He also saw time as a running back.

The 6-6, 235-pound Buchholz, who can also play defensive tackle, posted 71 tackles, including six sacks, for the Patriots last season. He had a total of 14 scholarship offers, including from Maryland, Pittsburgh, Virginia, and West Virginia.

"Once I met Penn State's new coaching staff, it was a done deal for me," said the 16-year-old from Malvern. "The attitude and excitement they have for football is incredible."

Buchholz, a second-team all-Southeastern Pennsylvania pick last season, was at Penn State's Junior Day on Feb. 15. He said he held off on making a commitment until his father, Larry, visited the school.

Bates, who committed to the Lions on Junior Day, joined Cooper and Buchholz on the visit Monday to Penn State.