Past Experience — Cooper became a defensive back in 2010 after beginning his career as a Rutgers receiver. Cooper briefly emerged as a starter in 2010 at the position but has spent the majority of his defensive career playing behind Logan Ryan and Brandon Jones.
Cooper's junior season was his best. He logged 30 tackles for 11th best on the team and played in all 13 contests.
In two seasons as a receiver, Cooper played in eight games and started once, but never recorded a catch. An off the field injury significantly cut his playing time as a redshirt freshman.
As a Recruit — Out of Bloomfield (Conn.) High, Cooper was a three-star prospect and the No. 97 wide receiver in the country in 2008. He was the top player at his position in the state and committed to Rutgers over offers from Delaware, Akron, Temple, Troy and Buffalo.
Spring Performance — Cooper continued his role as a backup cornerback and key player in nickel and dime packages during the spring. Solid but not spectacular, Cooper continues to figure in as a key player in the Rutgers defense heading into his fifth and final year in the program.
Does Well — Cooper is impressive at jamming receivers at the line and not getting beat early in plays. Rarely does he have to play catch-up after a sluggish start at the snap. Some of his best plays at Rutgers go unnoticed because they lead to sacks or interceptions by other players.
His ability to throw receivers off their routes and jam them makes him valuable.
Bringing wide receiver hands to the position does not hurt either.
Needs to Improve — Cooper is athletic, but not as athletic as many of the speedy players he matches up against. With Ryan and Jones on the island, Cooper frequently finds himself covering third wideouts. He starts strong, but becomes vulnerable at times as passing plays develop.
Long-Term Outlook — Do not expect Cooper to make a giant leap from his junior to senior season, but that will not stop him from being a key contributor on defense. Ryan and Jones have the outside spots locked up, but there will be plenty of work for Cooper on one of the more active defenses in the country.
Cooper is likely the first choice to fill in as a starter in an injury situation and will be one of many veteran presences that can set a good example for younger players.