On Friday, Clemson head coach Monte Lee and the Tigers’ baseball program picked up a verbal commitment from the son of a former Major League Baseball All-Star in Cooper Blauser, a class of 2022 prospect from Johns Creek, Georgia (Wesleyan High School).
The Clemson Insider spoke with Blauser about his decision to commit to the Tigers over offers from Georgia Tech and South Carolina. The 6-foot-1, 185-pound rising junior was also drawing interest from a number of other ACC and SEC programs.
“Clemson has always been a school where I’ve always had an interest for,” he said. “I hadn’t talked to them before this summer, and when they reached out, I was like, ‘Wow!’ I never really realized how much I would really want to go there. I’ve kind of always had a vibe from them, and what I’ve heard talking to them and Coach Lee and Coach (Bradley) LeCroy, I really just fell in love with the staff. They kind of took me in and they formed a relationship with me where it’s like a family type relationship.
“Obviously Clemson, the program speaks for itself. It’s a great program, great place to play obviously. But it’s just the relationship that I’ve formed with Coach Lee and Coach LeCroy, and like I said, it’s a great program. It’s something I’ve always kind of wanted to be a part of. I took it slow, but I knew in the end where I wanted to be, and it was with them.”
Blauser is the son of Jeff Blauser, who played in the majors with the Atlanta Braves (1987-’97) and Chicago Cubs (1998-’99). He was a two-time All-Star (1993, ’97), Silver Slugger Award winner (1997) and World Series champion with the Braves in 1995.
“I’m very fortunate to have him,” Cooper said of his father. “Not a lot of people can say that their dad, two-time all-star, big league… I really try to take advantage of it for the best. I’d be stupid if I didn’t, just to see what I can do with my abilities. God gave me the abilities to play this game, and he put my dad in my life for a reason. So, I pick his brain, he gives me tips. But sometimes he just wants me to go have fun with it, don’t think too much.
“I feel like more of the stuff that he teaches me is more of the mental side of the game. Baseball is a very mental game. You can use your mechanics and you can tweak things every once in a while, but what he really puts in my brain is the mental side – being comfortable in the box, knowing what the pitcher is going to be throwing on an 0-2 pitch or starting off an at-bat. It’s good to have a guy like him in my life.”
Cooper is capable of lining up all over the diamond on defense, but right now Clemson’s staff sees him being a shortstop or third baseman for them.
“But I’m an athlete, I’m very versatile. That’s kind of what makes my game special, I can play anywhere,” he said. “And my bat, if I can hit, that’s my game. I’m a hitter. I’ll stand the line up and if they need me to play outfield, I’ll play outfield. If they need me to play first base, whatever, I’ll do it. But right now, they said they see me left side of the infield.”
Cooper hit right at .400 this spring during his high school season that was cut short because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“As a hitter for me, I like to use my speed,” he said. “I’m a football player. I’m kind of a hardnosed… I’ll put the ball in the gap. I’m not really a power hitter, but I think I hit for solid contact in the gaps, up the middle. Another thing that my dad says is play to your strength, so I like to use my speed. So if I can put it on the ground somewhere, good things happen. But I’m probably more of a gap hitter I’d say.”
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