Finding the right fit for your college football program isn't just about what happens on the field, but off it as well. Today, Ohio State added a key piece. How will that commitment impact the Buckeyes?
Cooper is rated as the No. 11 wide receiver in the class and No. 64 prospect in the country overall.
Let’s take a look at how his commitment impacts Ohio State’s 2020 class.
On The Field
At The Opening Finals, Mookie Cooper might have been one of the shortest receivers on the roster, at 5-foot-8, but he was also one of the most effective. On Team Drip, he was what made the offensive move. When he was on rest, the offense was stagnant, and it didn’t stand a chance.
Cooper works really well in the middle of the field. Even though he needs to add weight – 5-foot-8, 193 pounds – he is very strong and has a low center of gravity when he’s got the ball. There won’t be many cornerbacks that can jam him, but there also won’t be many linebackers that can hang with his speed. He will be a very difficult matchup for opposing defenses.
In 7-on-7 play at The Opening Finals, where it can be tough for a physical receiver to show that side of his game, Cooper still made defenders look bad with his speed. One play in particular, he cut inside from the slot position but put his foot in the ground and cut upfield to get behind the defense in a flash. His quarterback overthrew him into the end zone, but he still found another gear and made the grab with his fingertips.
As a junior at Trinity Catholic, he averaged 29.8 yards per catch – 28 catches for 834 yards and nine touchdowns. He was also able to run a lot of jet sweeps, as he carried the ball 17 times for 261 yards (15.4 yards per carry) and three touchdowns.
Cooper can score anytime he touches the football, and that playmaking ability will be what makes him such an asset in an offense with Brian Hartline coaching the receivers.
He also serves many different roles on his Trinity Catholic team, even playing defense at cornerback and safety.
In The Class
Cooper joins an already loaded Ohio State wide receivers room, with Julian Fleming (No. 1 wide receiver), Gee Scott Jr. (No. 13 wide receiver) and Jaxon Smith-Njigba (No. 18 wide receiver).
That might seem like an issue as far as playing time goes or sharing the wealth among the wideouts once they all develop into Ohio State plays. But there is no issue because they’re all different types of receivers.
Fleming is a good combination of size and speed. He will sprint down the sidelines and make deep plays but also be lethal in crossing patterns that turn up the field. Scott isn’t the fastest wideout, but he is the strongest within the class. He will make the plays outside the numbers and have the most reliable hands. Smith-Njigba is aggressive and physical and will be a good option in short-yardage scenarios as well as a reliable wideout in late-down situations.
Cooper will work out of the slot primarily. He can run sweeps and actually line up in the backfield if need be. Anywhere the offense needs him, he will be able to play, and with Fleming, Scott and Garrett Wilson on the outside, there will be plenty of room for Cooper to do his work inside. He’s also probably the most effective big-play option out of the four.
Cooper’s commitment makes this 2020 wide receiver class one of the best Ohio State has ever seen and certainly the best in the nation right now. And the most dangerous asset of the group is that they can all see the field at the same time.
Off The Field
Brian Hartline has quickly ascended to the top of the assistant coaches list. He was there before Cooper’s commitment, but because of this class, Hartline is regarded as one of the best in the nation at what he does, and Cooper’s commitment rounds out the wideout additions for the recruiting cycle.
There’s still a year until the four receivers hit campus, and in that year, he will be working with guys like Garrett Wilson, Jameson Williams and company. But when his newest commitments arrive in Columbus, the new age of Ohio State wide receivers will look stronger than ever, beginning with Parris Campbell, Terry McLaurin and Johnnie Dixon and continuing through Wilson, Williams, Fleming, Scott, Cooper and Smith-Njigba.