NCAA FB

Cooper, Alabama receivers generating buzz

Share This Story

   
 

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP)

Alabama's receiving corps has one star and an impressive supporting cast.

Now, it's up to Amari Cooper & Co. to live up to a preseason buzz ordinarily reserved for the top-ranked Crimson Tide's tailbacks and defense.

Cooper produced one of the best seasons by a Alabama receiver as a freshman and is joined by a mix of established veterans and highly recruited youngsters to give quarterback AJ McCarron a deep assemblage of targets.

''It's going to be one of the most spectacular receiver groups that have come around in a long time,'' deep threat Kenny Bell said. ''We all push each other. We don't take it for granted that one's better than the other, we just try to push each other. Everybody out there's just taken it upon themselves to be a leader and push each other.''

Even former players are raving about the group.

''Probably the best wide receiving corps Alabama's ever had is going to be in Tuscaloosa this year,'' said Jay Barker, quarterback of the Tide's 1992 national championship team.

McCarron said the chemistry with the receivers is the best he's had.

The collection of talent is especially notable because Alabama hasn't exactly been Wide Receiver U. Atlanta Falcons star Julio Jones, the No. 6 overall pick in 2011, was the first Tide receiver drafted since fifth-rounder Triandos Luke seven years earlier.

There's only one bona fide star entering the season but all the returnees have been productive. The depth showed when the passing game continued to thrive after Bell, DeAndrew White and freshman Chris Black were lost to injuries in 2012.

Cooper racked up 1,000 receiving yards and a school-record 11 touchdowns on 59 catches. His numbers were slightly better than Jones' record-setting freshman season, and Cooper added two touchdowns in the BCS championship game win over Notre Dame.

The 6-foot-1, 202-pounder produced the fourth-best yardage total by a Tide receiver and had 29 catches of 15-plus yards.

Cooper has been limited in practice with a strained foot but produced 182 yards and three touchdowns on four catches in Alabama's first scrimmage.

''He is absolutely amazing,'' Tide cornerback John Fulton said. ''Some of the stuff he does, I have no idea where he learned it from, but he's absolutely amazing.''

Cooper has plenty of help, too. Alabama's five returning receivers who played last year have a collective 128 games and 44 starts while producing 3,092 yards and 29 touchdowns.

Kevin Norwood has 144 yards in the last two national championship games while Bell is averaging 19.8 yards on 36 catches. White started the first five games last season before his knee injury.

That doesn't include the highly touted Black, who was expected to play last season before a preseason shoulder injury. Coach Nick Saban pondered giving up Black's redshirt for the Southeastern Conference and BCS championship games if necessary.

''He's going to be a great receiver,'' Bell said. ''Y'all just watch out for him.''

Five-star recruit Robert Foster and fellow freshman Raheem Falkins are joining the mix, creating plenty of competition.

''Not one receiver is letting another receiver slack,'' Cooper said. ''We've been pushing each other every day. We've been pushing the young guys to learn the system, and it's been very fun.''

Sophomore Cyrus Jones, a five-star receiving prospect who played some last season, has moved to cornerback.

Saban always insists he seeks a balanced offense, and the Tide has only a 124-yard edge in rushing yards versus passing in claiming the past two national titles. The offensive line underwent a makeover, but with tailback T.J. Yeldon and the receivers, there are plenty of skill players.

''I think this offense could be great,'' H-back Jalston Fowler said. ''I mean really good. We've got weapons everywhere. I think you could take any guy out and not miss a heartbeat.''

Tagged: Alabama, Kenny Bell, Julio Jones

Related Stories

Member Comments

Please note by clicking on "Post comment" you acknowledge that you have read the Terms of Use and the comment you are posting is in compliance with such terms. Be Polite. Inappropriate posts may be removed by the moderator.

powered by

College Football Pick'em on FOX


NCAA FB Videos

Sumlin annoyed by media's Manziel questions Posted: Jul 16, 2014
Kevin Sumlin responds to questions about life after Johnny Football by toying wi...

AJ Pasquale's journey back to UCLA Posted: Jun 17, 2014
UCLA football ops intern AJ Pasquale describes his own personal journey after th...

Winston issued adult civil citation Posted: Apr 30, 2014
Get the latest news surrounding Jameis Winston's recent shoplifting fiasco.

Get Inside the Locker Room with Scout.com

Fox Sports Store

    itemName itemURL imageSrc price itemDescription
    Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Florida_Gators/browse/featuredproduct/759777/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_759000/ff_759777_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Florida Gators Gridiron 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - Royal Blue
    Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Michigan_State_Spartans/browse/featuredproduct/760171/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_760000/ff_760171_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Michigan State Spartans Football 2012 Team Issue T-Shirt - White
    Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_USC_Trojans/browse/featuredproduct/761373/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_761000/ff_761373_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike USC Trojans Fight On My School T-Shirt - Cardinal
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/829709/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829709_xl.jpg&w=100 64.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Crimso..
    Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_LSU_Tigers/browse/featuredproduct/829740/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_829000/ff_829740_xl.jpg&w=100 49.99 Nike LSU Tigers Elite Force Coaches Sideline Performance Polo - Purple
    Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Oklahoma_Sooners/browse/featuredproduct/830935/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_830000/ff_830935_xl.jpg&w=100 21.95 Nike Oklahoma Sooners Legacy 91 Dri-FIT Adjustable Coaches Cap - Crimson
    adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Notre_Dame_Fighting_Irish/browse/featuredproduct/861243/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861243_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Notre Dame Fighting Irish Hot Sideline Jacket - Navy Blue
    adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Nebraska_Cornhuskers/browse/featuredproduct/861247/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_861000/ff_861247_xl.jpg&w=100 69.95 adidas Nebraska Cornhuskers Sideline Hot Quarter Zip Jacket - Scarlet
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapback Hat - Charcoal/Black http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1087345/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1087000/ff_1087345_xl.jpg&w=100 29.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Players Locker Room Snapba..
    Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash http://shop.foxsports.com/FOX_Alabama_Crimson_Tide/browse/featuredproduct/1093431/source/foxsports_prsp_ca http://images.footballfanatics.com/FFImage/thumb.aspx?i=/productImages/_1093000/ff_1093431_xl.jpg&w=100 24.95 Nike Alabama Crimson Tide 2012 BCS National Champions Locker Room T-Shirt - Ash