Cooper to Play MLB and for the Gators

Senior wide receiver Riley Cooper will be a part of the University of Florida football team as announced by the University Athletic Association earlier. Cooper was an integral part of the offense in the Gators' 2008 run at a national championship and as a senior is expected to provide much more for the Gators. Cooper also signed a Major League contract with Texas and will play both moving forward.

Riley Cooper started 12 games in the 2008 championship season and has amassed 30 receptions for 535 yards and a staggering nine touchdowns meaning a touchdown on 30 percent of his catches. He is expected to be a big time threat with great speed, height and strength in his senior season with the departures of NFL talents Louis Murphy and Percy Harvin.

A team looking for leadership at receiver with the losses at the position, Cooper's return is huge for the Gators' title hopes.

"We are excited to have Riley back as part of our 2009 team," Meyer said. "He will be counted on heavily to be one of our go-to receivers. I've said numerous times during the off season that we need someone to step up with the departure of Percy Harvin and Louis Murphy. We haven't had someone step up yet and Riley can certainly be someone that does."

"Riley is an extremely gifted athlete," said Meyer. "His speed, size and strength make him a tough match up for defenses. Our whole offense is predicated on match up problems for the defense and Riley certainly helps do that for us. He is a big-time playmaker.

"In all of my years of coaching, I don't know if I've ever coached a player that can compete at such a high level in football and baseball. He is a special talent."

Cooper will play baseball starting in January with the Texas Rangers organization, but in the mean time will spend time trying to win his third national championship ruing in his four years on the Florida's campus.

"It was a tough decision, one of the hardest I've ever had to make, but I'm excited about being part of the Texas Ranger organization and coming back and playing football for my final season," Cooper stated. "More importantly, I'm looking forward to being around my Florida teammates and our Gator coaching staff. We have something special going on in Gainesville and I want to be a part of that. I want to thank the Texas Rangers for allowing me to play my senior football season at Florida, the University of Florida and especially Coach Meyer for all his patience and support during this process."

According to NCAA regulations, athletes may be a professional in one sport while maintaining their eligibility in another sport.

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