Julio Jones arrived in Tuscaloosa with as much hype and expectation as any player within the previous 10 years. His freshman season was expected. Amari Cooper, on the other hand, was not expected to fill a void because of injury and become AJ McCarron’s best receiver in 2012.
The Miami native made play after play for the Alabama offense in his record-setting freshman season. The Alabama Spring media guide lists Cooper at 6-foot-1, 202 pounds. While he gained a few pounds through Scott Cochran’s strength program, he told reporters in April he cut his 40-yard dash time down from 4.4 to 4.36.
When DeAndrew White went down with an injury, Cooper stepped into his place and made the Alabama record books. He finished with 1,000 yards for the season, which ties David Palmer for the fourth-most total yards in a season. Cooper did it with 59 catches. Palmer did it with 61 catches in 1993. Julio Jones’ 2010 total of 1,133 yard currently sits atop the list. Can Cooper top that in 2013? It’s very possible.
Cooper also holds the record for most receiving touchdowns in a season with 11 from last season.
He had game-highs in receptions, yards and touchdowns throughout the season. His eight receptions against Ole Miss and Georgia were the most in one game for the entire season. Against Tennessee, he had 162 yards, and in four different games, he had two touchdown receptions.
On the season, Cooper finished with 59 receptions, 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns. He averaged over 71 yards a game and just below 17 yards a reception.
He benefited from enrolling in the 2012 spring semester and taking part in spring practice. He was ranked no worse than the 14th-best wide receiver in the 2012 signing class and was rated a four-star prospect by many recruiting sites. He also played in the Under Armour All-American game.
Look for Amari Cooper to have another big year with AJ McCarron throwing him the ball because the Alabama receiving group has never looked this good. Defenses will have to pick their poison when deciding who and how to cover.