2011 Eligibility:Red-shirt junior
Ht.: 6-2 Wt: 190
High school: Bloomfield (Conn.) High
Background: Moved from receiver to cornerback last spring and made 16 tackles in nine games. …Missed three games because of a hamstring pull but returned to a more pronounced role late in the season. Made his first career start on defense in the season finale at West Virginia. …Played in eight games as a receiver in 2008 and 2009 but did not register a reception. …Played in two games in 2008 but red-shirted after being injured. …Was Scout.com's top-rated receiver in Connecticut in the 2008 class. …Had 64 catches for 1,071 yards and 17 touchdowns as a senior at Bloomfeld, where he left as the all-time leader in receptions (170), receiving yards (3,014) and touchdown catches (43).
Projected 2011 Role: Cooper's transition from offense to defense went well, and he would have likely moved to the starting lineup in the midseason had he not injured his hamstring in practice.
He brings size, speed and athleticism to the cornerback spot, and also isn't afraid to come up to the line of scrimmage and make a tackle. His biggest issue is experience, but he is being counted on to compete at a high level in the spring.
Cooper will challenge for a starting spot in training camp, and actually enters as one of the favorites to win one of the two starting corner positions.
There is plenty of competition on the edges, but Rutgers is looking to bring more speed and athleticism to its back seven, and Cooper could play a significant role in that.
Ht.: 6-2 Wt: 215
High school: Leto High (Tampa, Fla.)
Background: Was a central figure in the offense, running the Wildcat package and also as a receiver. …Was second on the team with 352 rushing yards and two touchdowns. His 77 attempts were third behind Jordan Thomas and Joe Martinek. …Had a career-high 169 rushing yards in loss to Syracuse. …Made 16 catches for 338 yards. Scored his only receiving touchdown against Connecticut. …Rated the No. 55 prospect in Florida in the 2010 class. …Chose Rutgers over Florida State after rushing for 812 yards and three TDs and catching 13 passes for 265 yards and three scores as a senior. …Played running back, receiver and quarterback in high school.
Projected 2011 Role: Deering is in the Mohamed Sanu mold of being a big, strong athlete able to perform in a number of roles. He was a receiver, running back and even threw the ball a few times, completing 3 of 4 passes.
In new offensive coordinator Frank Cignetti's offense, where the Wildcat will be nothing more of a small wrinkle rather than a staple, there will still be multiple opportunities for Deering to touch the ball in a variety of ways.
He can line up at receiver, be part of the running game package and also be used in trick-play scenarios as the Scarlet Knights still try to get him plenty of touches because of his speed, ability to make big plays and his size, which makes tackling him a chore.