Amari Cooper (born June 17, 1994) is an American football wide receiver for the Oakland Raiders of the National Football League (NFL). He played college football at the University of Alabama where he was the Biletnikoff Award winner as the nation's top receiver and a unanimous All-American in 2014. Widely considered the top wide receiver prospect of the 2015 NFL Draft, he was selected 4th overall by the Raiders.

 

 

Early years

Cooper attended Miami Northwestern Senior High School in Miami, Florida. As a junior, he missed much of the season with an injury but still managed to be one of Teddy Bridgewater's primary targets and had 16 catches for 175 yards with four scores. Cooper was dominant on the 7-on-7 circuit at various college campuses before his senior season. He had a show out performance at Alabama's summer camp,[34] and that quickly led to an offer from Nick Saban and the Crimson Tide. In his final year, he hauled in 33 receptions for 722 yards and 6 touchdowns. He was a first team FHSAA 8A All-State selection, as well as the No. 4 player on The Orlando Sentinel’s Florida Top 100.[2] He was also invited to play at the 2012 Under Armour All-America Game, where he had a 75-yard touchdown grab and a 93-yard punt return for a score. In addition to being a standout in football, Cooper also starred in basketball and track at Miami Northwestern.[3]

Cooper was a consensus four-star prospect. He was listed as the No. 45 in the Rivals100, and was considered the No. 6 wide receiver and No. 8 player in Florida by Rivals.com.[4] ESPNU listed him as the nation's No. 7 wideout and No. 46 overall prospect in the ESPNU 150 while ranking 25th in the ESPNU Southeast Top 100 and No. 12 in Florida.[5] He was ranked as the No. 6 wide receiver and the No. 10 player in the state of Florida by 247Sports.com, while ranking him 55th in the Top247. Also, Scout.com rated him as the No. 12 pass catcher in the nation and 86th overall prospect.[7] He chose Alabama over Florida State, Miami, and Ohio State, among others. Cooper announced his verbal commitment to the University of Alabama on September 22, 2011.[8]

College career

Freshman season

As a freshman at Alabama, Cooper played in all 14 games, including starts in the final nine games. He led the team with 59 receptions for 1,000 yards and 11 touchdowns.[9] The 11 touchdowns broke Alabama's 62-year-old record by Al Lary.[34] His receptions and receiving yards broke Julio Jones's Alabama freshman records. In Alabama's 2013 BCS National Championship Game 42–14 victory over Notre Dame, Cooper led all Alabama receivers with 105 yards and two touchdowns.[34] Cooper earned consensus Freshman All-American honors and was selected to the SEC All-Freshman team by the league coaches.[34]

Sophomore season

As a sophomore in 2013, Cooper played in 12 games with seven starts, missing two games due to injury. He had 45 receptions for a team-high 736 yards and four touchdowns. He had his best game of the season against Auburn in the Iron Bowl, recording six receptions for 178 yards, including a school record 99-yard touchdown reception from quarterback AJ McCarron.[34]

Junior season

As a junior in 2014, Cooper set numerous single-season and career records for Alabama.[34] Against Tennessee, he broke Alabama's single game receiving yards record, finishing with 224.[34] He later matched the record against Auburn.[34] For the season, Cooper had 124 receptions for 1,727 yards and 16 touchdowns, all school records. In addition, his 124 receptions were an SEC record.[34] He became Alabama's all-time leader in receptions (229), receiving yards (3,463) and receiving touchdowns (31).[34][34] Cooper was a finalist for the Heisman Trophy, finishing third behind Marcus Mariota and Melvin Gordon.[2] He won the Biletnikoff Award that season and was also named a unanimous All-American.[2][2]

After his junior season, Cooper entered the 2015 NFL Draft.[2][2]

College career statistics

YearGPReceiving
RecRec–YardsAvgTDLong100+Avg/G
201214591,00016.91154571.4
2013124573616.4499261.3
2014141241,72713.916807123.4
Total2293,46315.231991486.6

Professional career

Cooper was considered one of the best wide receivers in the 2015 draft class, together with Kevin White. In most mock drafts, he was projected to be a top 10 pick, with some having him as high as the 4th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.[25][26]

Pre-draft measurables
HtWtArm lengthHand size40‑yd dash10-yd split20-yd split20‑ss3‑coneVert jumpBroad
6 ft 1 in
(1.85 m)
211 lb
(96 kg)
31 12 in
(0.80 m)
10 in
(0.25 m)
4.42 s1.61 s2.63 s3.98 s6.71 s33 in
(0.84 m)
10 ft 0 in
(3.05 m)
All values from NFL Combine

2015 season

 

The Oakland Raiders selected Cooper in the first round with the fourth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.[2][2] Cooper was initially assigned the jersey number 19, but following the release of fellow receiver James Jones, he switched to his current number, 89. Cooper made his NFL debut for the Oakland Raiders on September 13, 2015. He hauled in 5 receptions for 47 yards in a 33-13 loss to the Cincinnati Bengals. In his second game against the Baltimore Ravens, he had 109 yards receiving including his first touchdown on a 68-yard pass from Derek Carr. In week three he had a franchise rookie record eight receptions for 134 yards in a 27-20 win against the Cleveland Browns, becoming the first Raiders receiver with consecutive 100+ yard receiving games since Randy Moss in 2005.[2] Through three games, his 290 receiving yards was third in NFL history. On November 8, 2015, Cooper passed Tim Brown's record for rookie receptions (43) in a 35-38 loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers.[3]

On December 20, 2015, Cooper became the first Oakland Raider rookie in franchise history to reach the 1,000-yard mark and the only receiver in the club to reach that same mark since Randy Moss, in 2005.[3] His five 100+ yard receiving games and 72 receptions are also franchise rookie records.[3] On December 22, 2015, Cooper was selected as an alternate for the Pro Bowl, alongside teammates Derek Carr and Latavius Murray;[3] he replaced Brandon Marshall and played.[3]

2016 season

Cooper put together a solid second season in the NFL. He had 83 receptions for 1,153 yards and five touchdowns.[3] Cooper was named to his second consecutive Pro Bowl on December 20, 2016.[3] He was also ranked 53rd by his peers on the NFL Top 100 Players of 2017.[3]

2017 season

In the season opener against the Tennessee Titans, Cooper had only 5 receptions for 56 yards on 13 targets, though one was a touchdown.[3] After having 33 yards in Week 2, Cooper had three consecutive games with less than 10 yards receiving.[3] However, on Thursday Night Football, in a 31–30 victory in Week 7, Cooper had a career-high 210 receiving yards and two touchdowns. His yardage was the most by any NFL player at that point in the 2017 season, the second most in franchise history, and the first 200+ yard game in franchise history since 1965.[4][4] With his stellar performance in Week 7, Cooper earned AFC Offensive Player of the Week.[4]

Career statistics

NFL career statistics
Oakland Raiders
SeasonReceivingRushingFumbles
YearGPGSRecYardsAvgTDLngAttYardsAvgTDLngFumbLost
20151615721,07014.9668T3-3-1.00211
20161614831,15313.9564T1000020
Career32291552,22314.31168T4-3-0.50231

See also