Quiet Storm: Amari Cooper
He was one of the most prolific receivers in the history of the Southeastern Conference. Finishing second in career receiving yards and first in career receiving touchdowns in league history, Amari Cooper was the aerial staple of the Alabama Crimson Tide offense from 2012-2014.
The fourth overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, Cooper emerged as a pro-bowl level wide receiver in his first two seasons in the NFL. The success he’s enjoyed stems from his quiet confidence in his game and skill set.
Read this to learn about how the Musketeer mindset Cooper possesses has pushed him into becoming the athlete he is today:
If you were a fan of an SEC team from 2012-2014 or are a fan of an AFC West team since 2015, chances are you’ve seen Amari Cooper run rampant through your favorite team’s secondary.
Cooper, a Musketeer athlete, is a very quiet wide receiver in an era where the outspoken wide receiver has become the standard.
“He is sort of a quiet guy when it comes to how he plays,” Cooper’s former college coach Nick Saban said. “He’s not a trash-talker. He doesn’t say much. He listens. Very respectful of his coaches to do what they’re asking him to do and tries to do it and get better. I have a tremendous amount of respect for guys that go about their business like he does. He’s just a really good person as well as a very, very good competitor.”
This mentality speaks to a Musketeer’s tendency to be non-flamboyant, modest and humble. “Most humble, quiet kid I’ve ever been around. The most humble superstar I’ve ever seen,” said a former coach of Cooper’s, Brett Goetz. “Amari was just so quiet. Zero arrogance. Just got the job done. Never talked about it, never showboated, just a great player on and off the field. … He doesn’t need to do anything above what he does by catching the ball and scoring a lot of touchdowns.”
Cooper has been this way since high school. Never needing to be the star or center of attention, he has always just gone about his business, running wide open through opposing defenses, scoring touchdowns, and helping his team win. Alabama lost only five games total in three seasons with Cooper on campus, never finishing a season ranked outside of the AP Poll top ten.
“Amari is completely dedicated to being the best football player that he can,” former Alabama offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin said. “He’s completely focused, so he’s great to work with. He wants to be great, and he also wants to expand his game. He comes in and asks a question about how you move around and how do you get to these spots. He’s been great to work with.”
Challenging himself and his Fans
It’s not just on the gridiron for Cooper, he models the Musketeer mindset in the community as well. Where other Musketeers like Super Bowl champion and sure-fire Hall of Fame quarterback Drew Brees or 2017 World Series Champion and all-star George Springer have philanthropic outlets to reach out to the community, Cooper has challenged his fans to stimulate their minds.
Musketeers are typically very thoughtful athletes, so the formation of the 12 Books a Year blog in 2017 makes sense for someone with Cooper’s mindset.
“I am sure it will be both challenging and fun at the same time, which is why I hope to do it with many others. I have carefully selected these books for self-help purposes, spiritual growth, mental growth, leadership, motivation, education, and entertainment,” Cooper says on the blog.
Musketeer’s Look to Help
The book club isn’t the only way Cooper exemplifies the helpful attitude of the Musketeer. He also has gone out of his way to help former Alabama teammate and current New York Jet wide receiver ArDarius Stewart.
“He’s a quiet guy, but I learned a lot from him just being around him and being a young kid not knowing how to play receiver for real,” Stewart said when discussing his first season at Alabama. “Switching from quarterback to receiver, he helped me out a lot. I took a lot of his game and just tried to mimic it the best I could. He did a lot for me.”
Then, when Stewart decided it was time to make the jump to the NFL, Cooper reached out yet again, “I did catch a few tips from him,” Stewart said during a locker room interview with the Jets’ official website. “He was just telling me to learn that playbook. That’s the biggest thing. Learn the playbook, get in, get the little things right, your alignments, your assignments and just get and play.”
Amari Cooper, the quiet, thoughtful, and helpful athlete– a true example of the Musketeer athlete type and mindset.
Traded to Dallas
Now on his way from Oakland to Dallas, Cooper will need to dig into his Musketeer mindset as he attempts to help turn the Cowboys’ fortunes around on offense. Could his quiet confidence and leadership be what they need to jump from one of the worst passing offenses (29th in the league in yards per game as of Week 8) into an all-around offense capable of carrying them to the playoffs?
Cooper’s physical abilities will undoubtedly give the Cowboys an added dimension, but his Musketeer mentality can possibly help bring along a young receiver like Micahel Gallup– elevating his game to the next level.