In Tomahawk Nation’s cornerback recruiting article, TimScribble and NoleThruandThru provided this brief recap of Cooper’s abilities:
“Cooper’s highlights show his ability to stick with his receiver in coverage, flipping his hips quickly, allowing him to recover from his initial jam. He doesn’t have elite speed like Green, but can be trusted to be left on an island. He has sharp instincts and isn’t afraid of contact despite his lanky build (he could stand to add an additional 15-20 pounds of muscle).”
In this article, we’ll take a deeper dive into Cooper’s game.
- Special teams?
Thats right, we’re going to talk about special teams in a scouting report. With Mike Norvell’s emphasis on special teams, it felt appropriate to mention Cooper blocking two PATs and a punt in his highlights. Special teams obviously isn’t a physical attribute (we’ll discuss those shortly), but it’s always nice to see a player excel in that aspect. It gives you a glimpse into Cooper’s willingness to help the team in multiple phases. It’s amazing how some players have a knack for making plays on special teams, something Cooper has shown repeatedly on film. Cornerbacks are expected to have roles on the block teams, and as blockers on the return squads, and Cooper could play for 3-4 years on both:
At 6’1 and with a 6’4 wingspan, Cooper possesses length most corners simply dream of. This is an advantage in press coverage and when playing the ball. Cooper rarely allows WRs into his chest and uses his length to knock WRs off their timing routes. When the ball’s in the air, Cooper uses his length to get a hand in and knock the ball away without interfering. This length is also a difference maker in zone coverage because it makes the passing windows tighter for the QB. Add some good long speed, and you’ve got the traits of a top-notch boundary CB:
3. Ball skills
Something FSU corners have lacked recently is the ability to find, track, and play the ball in the air. Cooper shows the ability to locate and finish. They don’t always end with interceptions, but Cooper often uses that elite length to knock the ball away. The ability to play the ball starts with good technique at the snap. A smooth backpedal, solid zone and man turns, and good transitions help Cooper run in phase with the WR, and then it’s playmaking time. Take a look at Cooper in the press and turn below, pressing the WR to the sideline, before finding the ball and getting those long arms up to make a play:
Cooper projects as a boundary corner at FSU. With long arms, good hips, and above average long speed, Cooper can play well in man or zone coverages. While he isn’t totally polished yet, Cooper appears very coachable (already benefitting from good coaching), has room to grow in his game, and has a high ceiling. Joining Hunter Washington and Kevin Knowles as DB commitments, Cooper has a strong argument to be considered the best of the bunch. Cooper should help on special teams in year one and could be an early contributor in the CB rotation. FSU landed a good one, folks!