Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper had a record-setting season – and career. The 6-foot-1 junior etched his name into the Crimson Tide record book, something he’s been doing since his freshman year.
“Coop” was the focal point of the Crimson Tide offense, a traditionally run-heavy scheme. Offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin called Cooper’s number early and often as Alabama made the semifinals of the inaugural College Football Playoff, where it lost to eventual champion Ohio State.
Here’s what you need to know about Cooper:
1. Cooper Led the Nation in Receptions
Cooper led the FBS with 124 receptions in 14 games, good for 8.9 per contest, which was second in the nation.
His 16 touchdown receptions and 1,727 yards were second to the 17 and 1,750 by Colorado State’s Rashard Higgins.
Cooper averaged 123.8 receiving yards per contest, third-most in the country.
2. He Shattered Alabama Records
In 3 years, Cooper rewrote the Alabama record books for receiving.
He ended his career with 228 receptions for 3,463 yards and 31 touchdowns, all school records. By a wide margin.
Former WR DJ Hall (2004-07) is second with 194 catches and 2,923 yards, while Dennis Homan is second with 18 scores from 1965-67.
3. Cooper Was a 1st Team All-American
Cooper was a no-doubt first-team AP All-American for his junior season efforts.
He also hauled in other postseason honors, including the Biletnikoff Award, which is given annually to the nation’s top receiver. Cooper was the Southeastern Conference’s Offensive Player of the Year and was named to numerous other All-America teams.
4. He Finished 3rd in the Heisman Voting
Cooper was invited to New York City for the Heisman Trophy presentation, but finished third behind winner Marcus Mariota, the Oregon quarterback, and Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon.
Mariota finished with 2,534 points, more than double that of Gordon, who finished with 1,250. Cooper had more first-place votes than Gordon, but fewer second-place votes, finishing with with 1,023 points.
Mark Ingram is the only Crimson Tide player to have ever won the Heisman. The current New Orleans Saints running back did it in 2009.
5. Cooper Is Expected to be a Top Pick in the NFL Draft
Cooper is widely considered to be the top receiver available in the NFL Draft, which begins Thursday, April 30, with the first round.
Most draftniks and mocks have Cooper going in the top 10 and more than a few have him going in the top 5.
Cooper and Kevin White of West Virginia are considered to be the top 2 WRs in the 2015 draft class.