By Joseph Santoliquito

Philadelphia, PA (CBS) —Archbishop Wood stars Jake Cooper and Ryan Bates figure to have it a little easier than a lot of Division I-caliber stars, since the two made a decision that sets their future.

Cooper and Bates, two integral parts in aiding the Vikings to a PIAA Class AAA state football title last fall, will be going to Penn State. The two made a verbal commitment to new Penn State coach James Franklin last week.

“They can enjoy their senior year and just play; they can concentrate on Wood football and work on getting better,” Wood coach Steve Devlin said. “Coach Franklin showed great interest and came to school the first day he visited the area. He made an impression immediately. The kids really want to play for him, they got to meet the whole staff.”

Cooper, a 6-foot-2, 230-pound junior linebacker, is projected to play linebacker at Penn State, while Bates, a 6-5, 280-pound junior offensive tackle is being seen anywhere on the offensive line for the Nittany Lions, but they’re looking at him mostly as a guard.

“For a while now, since I first stepped on campus, I knew Penn State was where I wanted to play my college football,” said Bates, one of the best players in Southeastern Pennsylvania. “It was awesome up there. I love the new coaching staff they have up there. I don’t have to worry about where I’m going to college my senior year.”

“Everything is going 100-percent into my senior season and working on defending the state championship. I was impressed a lot by coach Franklin. The vibe I got from him is that he had a lot of energy and how good they’re going to be. He’s from the area and I think he’ll be there for a while.”

Joseph Santoliquito is a contributing sports blogger for CBS Philly.