With Jacob Coker officially on campus, the battle for the quarterback position with the Alabama Crimson Tide is underway. Many of us are focused on who will be starting under center. However, in order for the passing game to be on point, the QB has to have a target or two. Lucky for us, Alabama has quite a few, starting with the most prominent and popular hands on the team, junior Amari Cooper.
Since stepping on the field at Bryant-Denny in 2012, Cooper has made quite an impact for the Crimson Tide. Regarded as the “second coming of Julio Jones,” he has proven himself worthy of the title. He’s not only considered one of the best at Alabama, but also in the country. Defenses fear his physical agility, as well as his cleverness on the field.
In Amari’s freshman year, he made a considerable appearance in all 14 games, starting in nine. The true freshman racked up 11 touchdowns with 1,000 yards in 59 receptions. He finished the season breaking the freshman records of Julio Jones in yards and receptions.
In 29 of his catches, he gained 15 yards or more, making him a brutal offensive weapon. He also broke the single season freshman touchdown record, surpassing the previous record set by Al Lary. Out of his 11 TD’s, Cooper caught three in the biggest games of the season; one against Georgia in the SEC Championship, and two against Notre Dame in the BCS National Championship game.
Recognized nationally for his accomplishments, Amari was named to the SEC’s All-Freshman team and deemed an All-American by College Football News, Sporting News and the Football Writers Association of America.
Compared to his freshman performance, the sophomore season would prove to be a bit disappointing. Before 2013 began, Cooper suffered a foot injury, causing him to miss a week of practice. At less than 100 percent, he continued to play until suffering a toe injury, ensuring his absence in the game against Colorado State in late September. The toe continued to nag the phenom throughout the year and forcing the Crimson Tide to lean on the talents of Kevin Norwood, DeAndrew White and Christion Jones. Together, they totaled 1,451 yards from 106 receptions and 13 touchdowns. Nevertheless, Cooper continued to lead Alabama with 45 receptions and 736 yards, averaging 16 yards per catch.
2014 brings one of the biggest challenges Crimson Tide will face in recent years in replacing AJ McCarron. Although the future is uncertain at this position, one thing remains clear.
Amari Cooper will be ready to catch whatever this season throws his way, no matter who it’s from.