Steven Cooper (born June 19, 1979 in Wareham, Massachusetts) is an American football player who plays inside linebacker for the San Diego Chargers.
Cooper attended Wareham High School in Wareham, Massachusetts, where he lettered in football, basketball, and track. While being a standout linebacker, Cooper was more feared as the team's starting quarterback. Cooper led Wareham to an undefeated season and State Championship in 1995. In one game against Apponequet, coach Dave Morgado said, "It takes two or three of my kids alone to stop Cooper." Following the 1997 season, Cooper earned the right to represent Massachusetts at the national High School Quarterback Challenge in Orlando. He largely won the event by throwing a 51-yard pass in snowy conditions.
Cooper verbally committed to attend the U.S. Naval Academy but transferred closer to home at the University of Maine to try and earn a scholarship. In an interview with Tom Shanahan, Cooper said his decision was a family one. “We weren’t really thinking about professional football," Cooper said, "We were thinking about a job after college, and if you go to the Naval Academy, you’re not going to get turned away for a job.” Because his high school coach and Maine Head Coach Jack Cosgrove played together in college, Cooper was offered a scholarship and became an instant star. Cooper earned Maine’s Roger Ellis Rookie of Year Award his freshman year in 1999. As a junior, Cooper earned Atlantic-10 Co-Defensive Player of Year. During his senior year, Cooper racked up Atlantic-10 Conference Defensive Player of Year in 2002, the George H. “Bulger” Lowe award from the Gridiron Club of Greater Boston as the top defensive football player in New England, and was named a 1st Team Defense 2002 Associated Press NCAA Division I-AA Football All-American. He was also an American Football Coaches Association and Sports Network All-American as well.