Mizzou lands former Ohio State WR Mookie Cooper
Tuesday morning, Missouri head coach Eli Drinkwitz took to Twitter and hinted that some recruiting news might be coming soon for Tiger fans. With his commitment to Missouri Tuesday afternoon, former Ohio State wide receiver Mookie Cooper proved Drinkwitz correct.
Cooper, a former four-star prospect out of St. Louis, announced on his Twitter account that he will continue his college career at Missouri. Cooper did not catch a pass as a true freshman at Ohio State this season. He will have all four years of eligibility remaining upon arriving at Missouri. As of right now, Cooper would need to apply for a waiver from the NCAA in order to compete during the 2021 season at Missouri, but the NCAA is scheduled to vote on a measure that would allow athletes to transfer once without sitting out later this month, and that measure is widely expected to pass.
Cooper hasn't played in a football game in two full seasons. As a high school senior, he transferred from Trinity Catholic to Pattonville but was deemed ineligible by the Missouri State High School Athletics Association. As a junior at Trinity, Cooper averaged a whopping 28.6 yards per reception on 29 catches. He scored 12 touchdowns as a receiver and four as a rusher.
Cooper was ranked the No. 2 player in Missouri in the 2020 class and the No. 58 player in the country. He originally committed to Texas before flipping to Ohio State and signing with the Buckeyes.
"Mookie Cooper was one of the most explosive football players I have covered in the Midwest over the last decade," said Rivals Midwest recruiting analyst Josh Helmholdt. "Built like a running back, he had the ball skills that allowed him to effectively play all over the field at the college level, from slot receiver to defensive back. Considering what he could do with the football in his hands, however, I always liked his upside best on offense. We saw him go head-to-head with the top prospects in the country at the 2019 Rivals100 Five-Star Challenge and he proved capable of getting separation even against the most elite linebackers and defensive backs. He can certainly play the slot receiver role, but also has the ability to flash into the backfield and is definitely a weapon on special teams."
Kevin Noon, who covers Ohio State for BuckeyeGrove.com, said Cooper may not have a clear offensive position, but he should be able to make a quick Impact on special teams, at a minimum, for Missouri.
"Mookie Cooper would have been the top receiver in Ohio State's class in many seasons, but not the year he came in, and a crowded receiver room along with an uncertainty about how best to use his talents led to an early exit for the former Rivals100 WR," Noon said in an email. "He has a ton of natural ability but also had not played football in two years with not playing this past season and just couldn't find a position within the Ohio State attack. Missouri will be getting someone who could step right in at the return positions and shouldn't need too long to get into the swing of things in the slot. I know many Ohio State fans wish he would have stuck it out another season with this year being so on-again and off-again, but they will be pulling for Cooper at his next stop as his number was never called in his short time in Columbus. "
Cooper is the second wide receiver to join Missouri's 2021 signing class, along with fellow St. Louis area native Dominic Lovett. Lovett, an East St. Louis high school product, flipped to Missouri after originally committing to Arizona State. Cooper is the 21st player to sign with the Tigers in the 2021 class and the second transfer, joining former Oklahoma offensive lineman EJ Ndoma-Ogar.
Cooper will join a wide receiver room that lacked a big-play threat in 2020. Missouri didn't have a receiver top 500 yards on the season, and the wideouts combined to catch just five touchdowns. Keke Chsim, Tauskie Dove, Jalen Knox, Barrett Banister and Micah Wilson all started at least one game last season and are set to return, but there still should be room for Cooper to compete for immediate playing time.