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Alex Cooper To Start At Right Tackle For Cougars In Acc

By RENALDO DORSETT

Sports Reporter

rdorsett@tribunemedia.net

HEADING into his final year of collegiate eligibility, Bahamian offensive lineman Alex Cooper is now firmly entrenched as a member of the offensive line for the Houston Cougars.

For the second consecutive season, Cooper will start at right tackle for the Cougars in the American Athletic Conference when they open the season on Saturday (September 5) at home against Tennessee Tech at the TDECU Stadium.

Cooper, the 6’4” 305-pound senior, has already completed his undergraduate degree headed into the season and was named to the 2015 Athlon Sports Preseason AAC Third Team.

Houston was picked to finish second in the west division of The American Athletic Conference in a poll of the league’s media.

This year will mark the first season for divisions in The American and the first with a conference championship as the league’s two division winners will square off on December 5 at the home of the division winner with the best conference record.

Houston finished the season 8-5 including a mark of 5-3 in The American Athletic Conference and they finished the season when they defeated the Pittsburgh Panthers 35-34 in the Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl.

Cooper was initially recruited as defensive lineman, but enjoyed the best season of his career last year when he shifted his focus from trying to sack the quarterback to protecting him instead.

A switch from the defensive to the offensive side of the ball became a major move in the right direction following his redshirt freshman season.

After a redshirt season, he moved to the offensive lineman prior to the start of fall practice and also provided depth on the offensive line as a member of the jumbo package.

As a redshirt season he played in 12 games with one start as a tight end in the team’s jumbo formation and was also a member of Houston’s field goal team. He finished the year with 69 snaps on the offensive line.

In his redshirt junior season he started all 13 games during the season at right tackle and helped the Houston offence gain 2,194 yards on the ground for 4.8 yards per rush and 26 rushing touchdowns in those 12 games.

He made the transition from a high school basketball standout to a defensive lineman, worked his way into a starting role at right tackle in just over two years. He was one of three new players on the offensive line joining seniors centre Bryce Redman and guard Rowfy Harper.

He initially earned the spot when veteran tackle Zach Johnson tore his ACL on the final day of spring practice.

When he moved to Houston as a member of the Frank Rutherford Development Programme, Cooper was a highly touted basketball recruit at Second Baptist High School.

In his senior season he earned 4A All-District honours on the court, and on the gridiron he played both ways, tallying five catches for 54 yards and a touchdown on offence and racking up 13 sacks and two fumble recoveries on defence.

Cooper chose Houston over Baylor, Kansas State, Rice and SMU.

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