Cooper Gets Invitation To Heisman Party

Years ago there was an Off Broadway musical, “Tuscaloosa’s Calling.” Today the call was reversed, New York calling Tuscaloosa, and specifically from the New York Athletic Club to Alabama’s football office to deliver a Heisman invitation.

Alabama junior wide receiver Amari Cooper is one of three finalists for the 2014 Heisman Memorial Trophy, which will be presented Saturday.

Cooper will be joined by quarterback Marcus Mariota (Oregon) and running back Melvin Gordon (Wisconsin) in New York City on Saturday as finalists. The 80th Heisman Trophy will be presented at the Best Buy Theatre. The event will be broadcast live by ESPN from 7-8 p.m. CST.

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"It is a tremendous honor to be selected as a finalist for the Heisman Trophy," Cooper said following the announcement Monday evening. "This will be my first trip to New York City, and I can’t put into words how much it means to me and my family. I am privileged to have the opportunity to represent our team at the Heisman ceremony. None of this would be possible without my coaches and teammates. The quarterback, offensive line, running backs and tight ends have done an unbelievable job all season and our coaches always put us in a position to be successful."

Cooper, from Miami, Fla., is the fourth Alabama player to be invited to New York for the Heisman presentation since 2009. Before that David Palmer (1993) and Jay Barker (1994) went in back-to-back seasons.

Mark Ingram became the Crimson Tide’s first Heisman winner in 2009, Trent Richardson was a finalist in 2011 and A.J. McCarron finished runner-up in 2013.

Cooper, who is also a finalist for the Biletnikoff and Walter Camp Player of the Year awards, has caught a school- and SEC-record 115 passes for 1,656 yards and 14 touchdowns while leading Alabama to the first College Football Playoff.

Named the Associated Press SEC Player of the Year on Monday, Cooper leads the nation in receiving yards with 1,656 while ranking second in receptions per game (8.8) and yards per game (127.4).

Ingram is the first and only winner, but the Crimson Tide has had 19 players finish in the top 10 since the award's inception in 1935. McCarron was runner-up last season and Richardson was third in 2011, while Palmer also finished third in the balloting in 1993. Lee Roy Jordan (1962) and Johnny Musso (1971) finished fourth, while Joe Kilgrow (1937), Harry Gilmer (1945 and 1947), Pat Trammell (1961), Terry Davis (1971) and Barker (1994) all finished fifth.

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